The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa For 2021


We analyzed over 34 places in Iowa to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best places to retire in Iowa.

There is more to Iowa than farmers, Hawkeyes fans, and Des Moines, there are a bunch of awesome places for those looking to retire in the great Midwest.

And since a person's golden years can be so unpredictable, you should probably not waste another second. Instead, you should take a look below at HomeSnacks' list of the best places to retire in Iowa for 2021. Did we mention that this is our seventh time ranking the best places to retire in the Hawkeye State? So, believe us when we say that the top ten places that made our list are the cream of Iowa's crop.

To determine Iowa's best places to retire, we looked at the latest FBI and Census reports on crime, demographics, affordable housing, distance to closest international airport, and amenities for 29 cities with over 10,000 residents. And, folks, the numbers don't lie.

We discovered that the best places to retire in Iowa are also some of the state's safest. Secondly, many of the top ten have great rates if you choose to rent. And, the ultimate reason to move to one of Iowa's best places to retire, they house some of the nicest people.

If you're already kickin' up your feet in one of Iowa's best places to retire, congrats. If not, take a look at our list below before you make any life changing decisions.

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa For 2021

  1. Boone
  2. Fort Madison
  3. Clinton
  4. Waverly
  5. Oskaloosa
  6. Spencer
  7. Bettendorf
  8. Clive
  9. Pella
  10. Norwalk

Why did Boone take the top spot? And where are Des Moines and Cedar Rapids?

If you ask any Iowan, they will tell you that their corner of corn country is the best. And while they might be right, there are places in Iowa that are better than others if your retirement requirements include safe, affordable neighborhoods, great places to wine and dine, and an airport to bring your family to you.

So, where is the number one, best place to retire in Iowa for 2021? Well, that would be Boone according to the most recent data.

If you want to know where the rest of Iowa's retirement gems are located, take a look at the list below. If you don't find what you are looking for there, head to the bottom.

For more Iowa state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa For 2021

Boone, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 12,487
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $738
Distance to Closest Airport: 37 miles
More on Boone: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Madison, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,513
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $709
Distance to Closest Airport: 72 miles
More on Fort Madison: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clinton, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,416
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $687
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
More on Clinton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waverly, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,094
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $715
Distance to Closest Airport: 102 miles
More on Waverly: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,511
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Rent: $653
Distance to Closest Airport: 55 miles
More on Oskaloosa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Spencer, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,052
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $684
Distance to Closest Airport: 134 miles
More on Spencer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bettendorf, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 35,919
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $914
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Bettendorf: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clive, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 17,167
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Rent: $984
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Clive: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pella, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 10,231
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $860
Distance to Closest Airport: 39 miles
More on Pella: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Norwalk, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,978
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $834
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Norwalk: Real Estate | Data | Photos

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Hawkeye State for 2021

To create our list of the best places in Iowa to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Hawkeye State -- 1002 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 29 places from across the state.

For these 29, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 29, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Boone, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers. You can download the data here.

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Iowa Yet...

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Iowa goes to Boone.

If you're not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Council Bluffs
  2. North Liberty
  3. Coralville

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Iowa?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Boone 12,487 $738
2 Fort Madison 10,513 $709
3 Clinton 25,416 $687
4 Waverly 10,094 $715
5 Oskaloosa 11,511 $653
6 Spencer 11,052 $684
7 Bettendorf 35,919 $914
8 Clive 17,167 $984
9 Pella 10,231 $860
10 Norwalk 10,978 $834

How Is The Area In ?

Talk To A Relocation Expert

Need help figuring out where to move? Email YouTube star Nick Johnson at [email protected].

It's $200 for a phone consultation, and you'll go over politics, weather, cost of living, schools, culture and more to discover which city is the PERFECT place for your family to move to.

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.