The 10 Best Counties To Live In Iowa For 2022


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Iowa have the most for people looking to make the move to Iowa.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Iowa a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in Iowa.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Hawkeye State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Iowa, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 99 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Hawkeye State for 2022.

Grundy County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Iowa. And you might want to avoid Van Buren County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move Iowa, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Iowa and the cheapest places to live in Iowa.

The Best Counties To Live In Iowa For 2022

1. Grundy County

Biggest Place: Grundy Center

Population: 12,262
Median Income: $71,760.0 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $138,100.0 (30th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (24th best)
More on Grundy County: Data

2. Winneshiek County

Decorah, IA

Biggest Place: Decorah

Population: 20,090
Median Income: $63,162.0 (23rd best)
Median Home Price: $183,300.0 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.1% (13th best)
More on Winneshiek County: PhotosData

3. Cedar County

Durant, IA

Biggest Place: Tipton

Population: 18,475
Median Income: $69,259.0 (10th best)
Median Home Price: $163,100.0 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (34th best)
More on Cedar County: PhotosData

4. Boone County

Boone, IA

Biggest Place: Boone

Population: 26,381
Median Income: $67,442.0 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $141,000.0 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (18th best)
More on Boone County: PhotosData

5. Sioux County

Hull, IA

Biggest Place: Sioux Center

Population: 34,900
Median Income: $73,260.0 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $182,500.0 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (16th best)
More on Sioux County: PhotosData

6. Benton County

Belle Plaine, IA

Biggest Place: Vinton

Population: 25,558
Median Income: $66,046.0 (15th best)
Median Home Price: $158,700.0 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (20th best)
More on Benton County: PhotosData

7. Madison County

West Des Moines, IA

Biggest Place: West Des Moines

Population: 16,148
Median Income: $71,811.0 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $186,700.0 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (38th best)
More on Madison County: PhotosData

8. Bremer County

Sumner, IA

Biggest Place: Waverly

Population: 25,032
Median Income: $72,209.0 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $169,000.0 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (45th best)
More on Bremer County: PhotosData

9. Warren County

Indianola, IA

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Des Moines

Population: 50,867
Median Income: $80,309.0 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $196,100.0 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (50th best)
More on Warren County: PhotosData

10. Plymouth County

Le Mars, IA

Biggest Place: Sioux City

Population: 25,141
Median Income: $71,147.0 (8th best)
Median Home Price: $172,600.0 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.1% (12th best)
More on Plymouth County: PhotosData

Methodology: How do you determine which Iowa county is the best?

To give you the best county in Iowa, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a “best county” and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Iowa across each of the criteria from one to 99, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the “Best County To Live In Iowa”.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Hawkeye State.

Read on to see why Grundy County is the best county, while Van Buren County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Iowa.

Summary: The Best Counties In Iowa To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Iowa can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in Iowa according to the data:

  1. Van Buren County
  2. Wapello County
  3. Decatur County

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Iowa

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Grundy County 1 12,262 $71,760.0 $138,100.0
Winneshiek County 2 20,090 $63,162.0 $183,300.0
Cedar County 3 18,475 $69,259.0 $163,100.0
Boone County 4 26,381 $67,442.0 $141,000.0
Sioux County 5 34,900 $73,260.0 $182,500.0
Benton County 6 25,558 $66,046.0 $158,700.0
Madison County 7 16,148 $71,811.0 $186,700.0
Bremer County 8 25,032 $72,209.0 $169,000.0
Warren County 9 50,867 $80,309.0 $196,100.0
Plymouth County 10 25,141 $71,147.0 $172,600.0
Marion County 11 33,193 $64,136.0 $160,100.0
Carroll County 12 20,150 $59,198.0 $138,700.0
Dallas County 13 90,418 $88,368.0 $258,300.0
Mills County 14 15,023 $75,137.0 $178,500.0
Lyon County 15 11,800 $65,959.0 $160,700.0
Dickinson County 16 17,260 $60,975.0 $199,800.0
Chickasaw County 17 11,970 $61,239.0 $122,000.0
Palo Alto County 18 8,941 $56,437.0 $107,300.0
Buchanan County 19 21,141 $67,252.0 $143,200.0
Delaware County 20 17,107 $63,877.0 $141,300.0
Iowa County 21 16,155 $62,660.0 $156,000.0
Guthrie County 22 10,702 $62,644.0 $129,000.0
Harrison County 23 14,043 $64,154.0 $124,000.0
Mitchell County 24 10,588 $60,260.0 $120,400.0
Linn County 25 225,601 $67,301.0 $161,600.0
Fremont County 26 6,895 $59,688.0 $113,200.0
Hancock County 27 10,709 $61,957.0 $100,900.0
Jasper County 28 37,032 $59,481.0 $137,200.0
Dubuque County 29 97,193 $64,493.0 $175,300.0
Hamilton County 30 14,905 $60,248.0 $105,200.0
Worth County 31 7,422 $60,442.0 $107,600.0
Shelby County 32 11,544 $60,139.0 $120,700.0
Jones County 33 20,575 $57,134.0 $140,000.0
O’brien County 34 13,796 $57,200.0 $116,300.0
Johnson County 35 150,819 $63,062.0 $238,600.0
Cerro Gordo County 36 42,672 $56,082.0 $130,400.0
Muscatine County 37 42,703 $60,435.0 $135,400.0
Butler County 38 14,508 $56,473.0 $120,100.0
Washington County 39 22,100 $63,532.0 $158,600.0
Kossuth County 40 14,864 $56,156.0 $109,400.0
Hardin County 41 16,924 $54,930.0 $95,100.0
Cherokee County 42 11,281 $56,302.0 $117,400.0
Humboldt County 43 9,518 $55,707.0 $109,200.0
Davis County 44 8,977 $67,627.0 $117,900.0
Polk County 45 485,418 $69,747.0 $190,400.0
Story County 46 97,355 $58,302.0 $195,200.0
Winnebago County 47 10,474 $51,581.0 $96,200.0
Clay County 48 16,138 $51,259.0 $129,700.0
Sac County 49 9,711 $57,446.0 $101,200.0
Henry County 50 19,889 $54,490.0 $118,500.0
Wright County 51 12,644 $51,221.0 $86,100.0
Greene County 52 8,923 $51,098.0 $93,500.0
Scott County 53 172,938 $63,876.0 $167,900.0
Cass County 54 12,990 $52,005.0 $107,200.0
Woodbury County 55 102,687 $60,768.0 $131,300.0
Poweshiek County 56 18,391 $53,925.0 $148,200.0
Calhoun County 57 9,656 $55,285.0 $85,600.0
Montgomery County 58 10,016 $55,761.0 $85,300.0
Allamakee County 59 13,761 $55,523.0 $133,400.0
Adair County 60 7,048 $55,700.0 $111,100.0
Monona County 61 8,675 $51,866.0 $90,000.0
Audubon County 62 5,528 $49,245.0 $84,300.0
Ringgold County 63 4,922 $55,970.0 $113,000.0
Howard County 64 9,201 $56,709.0 $105,800.0
Mahaska County 65 22,351 $56,417.0 $113,100.0
Clayton County 66 17,527 $56,456.0 $131,600.0
Emmet County 67 9,322 $56,708.0 $90,000.0
Jackson County 68 19,348 $59,042.0 $127,600.0
Ida County 69 6,862 $54,219.0 $102,400.0
Keokuk County 70 10,163 $52,012.0 $95,800.0
Fayette County 71 19,604 $49,834.0 $106,200.0
Taylor County 72 6,160 $57,768.0 $84,100.0
Page County 73 15,205 $51,196.0 $96,400.0
Monroe County 74 7,761 $59,489.0 $113,800.0
Pottawattamie County 75 93,478 $59,901.0 $141,300.0
Jefferson County 76 18,153 $47,401.0 $120,600.0
Louisa County 77 11,125 $63,034.0 $107,900.0
Black Hawk County 78 131,813 $54,774.0 $150,200.0
Osceola County 79 6,016 $61,167.0 $96,600.0
Clarke County 80 9,383 $55,078.0 $115,400.0
Franklin County 81 10,091 $55,630.0 $93,200.0
Tama County 82 16,962 $54,749.0 $114,400.0
Des Moines County 83 39,227 $51,784.0 $111,600.0
Lee County 84 33,946 $52,072.0 $98,400.0
Floyd County 85 15,713 $51,768.0 $107,700.0
Clinton County 86 46,734 $52,221.0 $120,200.0
Marshall County 87 39,804 $58,735.0 $104,400.0
Buena Vista County 88 19,950 $54,014.0 $120,300.0
Crawford County 89 16,998 $54,849.0 $101,100.0
Webster County 90 36,348 $51,909.0 $107,900.0
Union County 91 12,303 $50,375.0 $109,600.0
Adams County 92 3,633 $52,287.0 $81,400.0
Pocahontas County 93 6,725 $53,573.0 $81,900.0
Lucas County 94 8,556 $53,967.0 $94,200.0
Wayne County 95 6,426 $47,543.0 $79,900.0
Appanoose County 96 12,462 $39,693.0 $85,000.0
Decatur County 97 7,908 $48,154.0 $82,800.0
Wapello County 98 35,102 $46,433.0 $87,400.0
Van Buren County 99 7,104 $49,898.0 $91,200.0
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the best counties to live in Iowa.

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.