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A+ Des Moines Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
B+ Des Moines Cost of Living Cost of living is 3% lower than Iowa
Des Moines
8614% less expensive than the US average
Iowa
8911% less expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Des Moines cost of living
F Des Moines Crime Total crime is 110% higher than Iowa
Total crime
5,08384% higher than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 2084% higher than the US average
Year-over-year crime
8%Year over year crime is up
Des Moines crime
D Des Moines Employment Household income is 12% lower than Iowa
Median household income
$48,08813% lower than the US average
Income per capita
$25,43715% lower than the US average
Unemployment rate
5%7% higher than the US average
Des Moines employment
A- Des Moines Housing Home value is 10% lower than Iowa
Median home value
$119,80035% lower than the US average
Median rent price
$77518% lower than the US average
Home ownership
60%5% lower than the US average
Des Moines real estate or Des Moines rentals
B Des Moines Schools HS graduation rate is 7% lower than Iowa
High school grad. rates
81%2% lower than the US average
School test scores
60%23% higher than the US average
Student teacher ratio
13:120% lower than the US average
Des Moines K-12 schools or Des Moines colleges

Living in Des Moines, IA

Located in the state of Iowa, Des Moines is a large city with a population of 212,859 people. According to the most recent Census, 77% of Des Moines residents are White, 11% Black and 6% Asian. If you are not a fan of long commutes, you will enjoy living in Des Moines. With average one way commute time of only 19 minutes, getting to and from work is a breeze compared to the national average of 26 minutes.

Are you trying to figure out if living in Des Moines is the right fit for your lifestyle? To ensure a good experience before moving to any new city in Iowa, you will probably want to make sure that you check all of the most important boxes. To help you find the best places to live in and around Des Moines, AreaVibes has created a livability score using key metrics like weather, employment, housing and more.

Using data and statistics Des Moines has received a livability score of 75 out of 100. This score is ranked in the 81st percentile when compared to all other cities. Compared to the United States average, Des Moines ranks among some of the best places to live in the country! Based on the grades for each individual category, Des Moines has been rewarded with high marks for amenities (A+), cost of living (B+), education (B) and housing (A-). There are some categories that Des Moines scores poorly for, including: crime (F), weather (D) and employment (D). It might be worth taking a closer look to determine why.

Location, location, location - possibly the three most important words in your search for a new place to live. Fortunately, in Des Moines, there is no shortage of amazing local amenities and interesting things to do. Some of the interesting things to do and attractions include: Adventureland, Blank Park Zoo, and Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The Des Moines unemployment rate (0.51%) has continued to decrease over the years and is now well below the national average. Finding a new job in the area might just be easier than you thought!

Based on multiple factors including: median home and rental prices, appreciation rates and home affordability, Des Moines has received high marks in the housing category. Based on these calculations, the apartment rental and real estate market appears to be very healthy.

Being close to public transportation, grocery stores, parks and other conveniences are all important when weighing your options for a new home in Des Moines. Before you determine if any of these amenities are available in the area, you will also want to know if the real estate prices in Des Moines are affordable. The median home price for Des Moines homes is $119,800, which is 9.8% lower than the Iowa average. If we take a closer look at the affordability of homes in Des Moines, we’ll see that the home price to income ratio is 2.5, which is 4.2% higher than the Iowa average. Year over year appreciation rates for homes in the Des Moines area were 7% and the 5 year appreciation rates came in at 7.3%. Why is this important? Knowing the appreciation rates for any area is a quick and easy way to determine if you will see a solid return on your investment.

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Compare Des Moines, IA Livability To Other Cities

Best Neighborhoods In & Around Des Moines, IA

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Waterbury, Des Moines854.52,740
Downtown Des Moines, Des Moines851.12,576
Waveland Park, Des Moines844.33,214
Ingersoll Park, Des Moines833.7798
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Bloomfield-Allen, Des Moines833.46,844
Greenwood, Des Moines832.81,009
Lower Beaver, Des Moines835.15,761
Salisbury Oaks, Des Moines813.21,088

Best Cities Near Des Moines, IA

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Ankeny, IA9010.753,413
Clive, IA8810.117,022
Urbandale, IA886.541,578
West Des Moines, IA865.261,624
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Waukee, IA8613.516,955
Altoona, IA858.616,692
Johnston, IA849.219,491
Prairie City, IA8319.21,973
See all Iowa cities

How Do You Rate The Livability In Des Moines?

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Des Moines Reviews

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Nightlife0/10
Dining0/10
Shopping0/10
Des Moines a Great Place to See

Attractions9/10
Community10/10
Nightlife10/10
Dining10/10
Shopping9/10
I have lived in Des Moines for quite a few many years, it is one of the few places in the USA that has not been hit as hard by the recession as some of the other larger cities. Des Moines like anywhere has some crime and gang activity, though it has gone down in recent years. Some of the neighborhoods in the east and northeast of the city are a bit tougher, but they aren't like the slums or ghetto. Traffic can be annoying at times, but it's not a huge issue, especially if you know the back roads to avoid the freeway.

During the summer there is a lot to do. There are plenty of art festivals, concerts and other attractions to keep you more than busy. There is the WineFest, LatinoFest, there is Lazerfest as well as the Iowa State Fair. The downtown East Village, downtown is full of great restaurants and shopping. In the wintertime there is plenty to do as well, we have a professional hockey team, a basketball team, a Skating rink, and there are always holiday events. We have a great art environment, the Civic Center puts on Broadway shows, the Des Moines Playhouse puts on some great shows as well, and if you are in the mood for a night of classical music we have the Des Moines Symphony.

There are a lot of visitors that feel we are not very friendly or welcoming. We are very friendly, a lot of tourists have strange views of life in Iowa. They perceive us as having a limited viewpoint on the world. The interesting thing is Des Moines has been rated as one of the top Ten U.S. Cities to raise a family, rent a house, start a business and be a patriotic American. We have a lot to offer, but if you are looking for a New York mentality in Des Moines you won't find it here and will probably not be very happy living here.
  • 1 0
Great place to raise your family!!

Attractions9/10
Community9/10
Nightlife8/10
Dining8/10
Shopping9/10
I have lived in Des Moines for 40 years, when my family moved here in 1973. I know people in other places like to make jokes about Des Moines, but that is because they don't know anything about Des Moines!

If you are visiting in the summer, there is a lot to do. We have Art Festivals, WineFest, Latinofest, Asianfest, the 80/35 concert, Lazerfest, ( and frankly all kinds touring bands come to Wells Fargo Arena alll year round) and of course the Iowa State Fair. I guarantee you have never been to a fair before if you haven't been to this one!
Our East Village downtown is full of great places to eat and shop.

In the Winter we have a professional hockey team , basketball team, the Brenton Skating rink, and Holiday and New Years events.

Our Civic Center hosts Broadway shows, and we also have the Des Moines Playhouse, and the Des Moines Symphony.

I could go on and on. I do not agree with the other review that said we do not make people feel welcome. We are very welcoming, and this is a great place to live. Neighbors are friendly and schools are really good. The economy is thriving here, so if you are willing to move and take a chance, I think you will love living in Des Moines!
  • 1 0
All American Des Moines, Iowa

Attractions9/10
Community8/10
Nightlife6/10
Dining6/10
Shopping9/10
For opinions on the good and not so good of Des Moines, Iowa you must be selective in choosing who you ask. Few cities evoke such varied opinions from people. The situation is this.

If you have lived in Des Moines, as some of my family, for over five years, you can easily give a list of great things about Des Moines. There are at least fifty great family oriented attractions in or near Des Moines.

If you are new to the city or have moved to Des Moines from a larger city on the east or west coast of America there will not be many good things you have to say about Des Moines. I feel that is not fair, but there are some valid reasons for that point of view.

The people of Iowa, in general, do not make newcomers feel welcomed. Des Moines citizens feel that outsiders, as they put it, have strange views not compatible with life in Iowa. Newcomers feel the people who live there are, in general, simple people with limited viewpoints on life and the world.

Here are some of the reasons that Des Moines is a great place for families to live, unless you relocated from San Diego, Los Angeles or any other major east or west coast city.

Major American media and publications have rated Des Moines in the top Ten U.S. Cities to raise a family, be a renter, start a business and be a proud American.

If there were any valid negatives, they would center on a hard to control problem that comes and goes. There is some history of past gang activity in parts of the city. However, Des Moines rates as one of the safest places to live in America. You should decide for yourself.
  • 1 0
The Lovely City of Des Moines, IA

Attractions7/10
Community6/10
Nightlife6/10
Dining6/10
Shopping7/10
I spent a week visiting colleges in the Upper Midwest during the summer of 2006. My family spent a day in Des Moines, touring Drake University and spending time in the city. I did not have high anticipations for Des Moines, simply because I had long subscribed to the stereotype of Iowa being one massive field of corn. I figured that Des Moines would be extremely dull.

Turns out that I was wrong. Des Moines is not the most exciting city I've ever visited, but it has plenty of attractions to see and some great food at various restaurants in the city. I was most impressed by the Iowa State Capital building, which I found absolutely stunning. It has a huge gold dome that looks beautiful during sunset. After visiting the capital, my family stopped by the Des Moines Farmers market for some fresh fruit and checked out the many vendors, who sold everything from handmade jewelry to goat milk soaps. If you enjoy steak, try a restaurant in Des Moines called Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. The steaks at this popular Des Moines restaurant are charbroiled to perfection!

Although I ended up choosing another college over Drake, I'm sure that I would have enjoyed spending my college years in Des Moines and often think back to what it would have been like had I chosen Drake.
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Reason for reporting
Source: The Des Moines, IA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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