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Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.
There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.
But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.
Of course, not all suburbs of Des Moines are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...
What's the best suburb of Des Moines? Clive ranks as the best suburb of Des Moines for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Clive, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.
We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Des Moines 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.
Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Feel free to check out some more reading about Iowa:
The 10 Best Des Moines Suburbs To Live For 2022
Clive is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Des Moines area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Clive."
Everyone here is rich; families average $107,268 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Des Moines region. And only 3.28% are out of work. Homes average more than $284,800 each.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Income: $107,268
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Clive: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Huxley is the second best 'burb we looked at near Des Moines for 2022.
It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 1.44% of residents lack insurance, good for 4th best.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Income: $109,583
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 2.7%
More on Huxley: Real Estate | Data
Here in Johnston, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Des Moines metro area.
The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Johnston.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $92,984
Unemployment Rate: 1.4%
Poverty Rate: 5.1%
More on Johnston: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Urbandale ranks as the 4th best suburb of Des Moines for 2022.
You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Urbandale and the schools are some of the best around.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Income: $95,961
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 5.4%
More on Urbandale: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Coming in as the fifth best is Ankeny.
Ankeny gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the Des Moines area, where houses sell for an average of $239,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $89,484
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on Ankeny: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Waukee is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.
Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 3.18% which is 10th best in the area.
According to online reports, Waukee is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Des Moines area, meaning you need to get in soon.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Median Income: $94,371
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.3%
More on Waukee: Real Estate | Data | Photos
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Norwalk.
Norwalk schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it's only 7.3 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $83,241
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Norwalk: Real Estate | Data | Photos
West Des Moines is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.
A solid 3.57% of people lack insurance, good for 17th in the area.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $74,159
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.8%
More on West Des Moines: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Is 'Everything Better In Bondurant?'
It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Median Income: $95,259
Unemployment Rate: 0.4%
Poverty Rate: 8.6%
More on Bondurant: Real Estate | Data
And rounding out the top ten for 2022 is Altoona.
This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $79,482
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 7.1%
More on Altoona: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Des Moines for 2022
Figuring out the best suburbs around Des Moines was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:
- Low unemployment rate
- High Median household incomes
- Population density (lots of things to do)
- High home values
- A lot of college educated people
- Low poverty
- High rate of insured families
Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2016-2020 to research each suburb.
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Des Moines.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 20 suburbs to evaluate around Des Moines.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 20 in each category, where 1 was the "best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Des Moines." We're lookin' at you, Clive. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.
Summary: Welcome to the Best Des Moines 'Burbs of 2022
We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.
So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Des Moines, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
For more Iowa reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Des Moines Suburbs
|8||West Des Moines, IA||66,724|
|13||Windsor Heights, IA||4,889|
|18||Pleasant Hill, IA||9,959|