The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa For 2021


We used science and data to determine which cities in Iowa have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best cities for families in Iowa.

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Iowa is 75 percent vowels, 100 percent awesome, and 110 percent the best place to raise a family in the country.

According to HomeSnacks, the Hawkeye State is one of the top ten best states in the country to raise a family, and we couldn't agree more. The state has some of the safest, most friendly places in the Midwest to call home. And that's why we set out to determine the most family friendly places in Iowa to call home for 2021. With many cities in Iowa experiencing exponential growth, it's no wonder that the state is starting to move away from the agriculture stigma into the venture capital game. And, folks, that's great news for families just starting out, for families needing a change, and for everyone's overall bottom line.

Incidentally, Iowa is the 26th biggest state, but the 33rd least populous state. We think that's all the more reason to raise your family in this flyover state: there's plenty of room for your kids to run and there's plenty of opportunity to make a difference. And if you want boatloads of good, wholesome, family friendly fun at your fingertips, Iowa is your state. Heck, you can take your family to play in Cedar Rapids' Palisades-Kepler State Park and Iowa City's Devonian Fossil Gorge all in the same weekend.

So, have we piqued your interest? If so, keep reading to see how we determined the most family friendly places to live in Iowa.

The 10 Best Cities To Raise A Family In Iowa For 2021

  1. Pella
  2. Norwalk
  3. Clive
  4. Waukee
  5. Oskaloosa
  6. Storm Lake
  7. Boone
  8. Johnston
  9. Indianola
  10. Urbandale

How did we determine Iowa's most family friendly places? We consulted the US Census on places in the Hawkeye State with more than 10,000 residents. We looked at several factors: crime, education, family friendly activities, and the percent of households that currently have children. We ended up with 27 family friendly Iowa places that any family would be lucky to call home.

But, there can only be one number one best place to raise your family in Iowa, and that would be Pella.

To see how your favorite place in Iowa compared, take a look at the list below; and if you don't see it there, head to the bottom.

Check out some more reading about Iowa and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa For 2021

Pella, IA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 10,231
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 39
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 26.5%
More on Pella: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Norwalk, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,978
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 36
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 42.9%
More on Norwalk: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Clive, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 17,167
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 38.3%
More on Clive: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Waukee, IA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 20,785
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 48
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 44.1%
More on Waukee: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,511
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 30.8%
More on Oskaloosa: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Storm Lake, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,558
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 39.4%
More on Storm Lake: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Boone, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 12,487
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 29.1%
More on Boone: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Johnston, IA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 21,406
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 35.0%
More on Johnston: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Indianola, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,802
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 34.8%
More on Indianola: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Urbandale, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 43,441
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: Des Moines
Households with kids: 36.5%
More on Urbandale: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

How do you determine which place is best for families in Iowa anyways?

To give you the places in Iowa which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what's family-friendly and what isn't.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Hawkeye State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Iowa, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For Iowa, that meant a total of 27 cities. You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa

If you're looking for a breakdown of cities in Iowa ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here's a look at the best cities for singles Iowa according to the data:

  1. Davenport
  2. Council Bluffs
  3. Des Moines

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In Iowa?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Pella, IA 10,231 47
2 Norwalk, IA 10,978 59
3 Clive, IA 17,167 62
4 Waukee, IA 20,785 32
5 Oskaloosa, IA 11,511 58
6 Storm Lake, IA 10,558 54
7 Boone, IA 12,487 48
8 Johnston, IA 21,406 42
9 Indianola, IA 15,802 46
10 Urbandale, IA 43,441 61

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.