Wondering where the richest folks live in the Hawkeye State? Wonder no longer, because we’ve used science and data to take the guesswork out of determining the wealthiest places in Iowa.
The places in Iowa with the highest concentration of wealth are largely centered around the state’s capital and biggest city, Des Moines. About half the cities on this list are suburbs of Des Moines, with Waukee being the richest of the rich suburbs. If you’re looking for money in the eastern part of the state, North Liberty, situated between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, is your best bet. In any case, you don’t usually have to travel far from Iowa’s biggest cities to find the hordes of wealth.
How much do you need to have in the piggy bank to live in one of the richest places in Iowa? Well the good news is that Iowa has one of the lowests rent in America, so you won’t need to break the bank if you’re not looking to buy. The average median household income for cities on this list was around $80,000/year, with Clive having the highest earners statewide. If job stability is more important to you, then Bondurant’s super low unemployment rate ought to be attractive.
So if you want to know what Iowan cities have corn made of gold, serve fried catfish with a side of caviar, and wear tuxedos to the state fair, read on.
Now you know where the hot spots of wealth are in Iowa. It shouldn’t come as a shock that there was a good amount of overlap between the richest cities and the safest and best cities in Iowa. Money doesn’t automatically make a city safe or great to live in, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
So how did we come up with this list of Iowa’s wealthiest places? We started by narrowing down our search to only cities with a population of at least 5,000, which left us with 83 cities to score. Then we looked for the cities with the lowest rates of poverty and unemployment and the highest median household incomes. That left us with only the most-moneyed spots in Iowa. But what city is the richest? According to the data, Bondurant is the wealthiest city in Iowa for 2023.
If you’re surprised a city you thought was super-flush wasn’t in the top ten, check out the complete list below to see where it landed.
Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out some more reading about Iowa:
The 10 Richest Cities In Iowa For 2023
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Income: $106,821
Unemployment Rate: 0.8%
Poverty Rate: 6.0%
More on Bondurant: Real Estate
Rank Last Year: –
Median Income: $141,548
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.0%
More on Polk City: Real Estate
Methodology: How We Determined The Richest Places In Iowa For 2023
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the richest places is to simply identify personal incomes. After all, rich people have really high salaries.
However, we don’t believe that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the “richest places”. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
- Unemployment Rate
Median household income is the most digestible way to understand how rich a place really is. The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for more people to become rich. If more people are employed, the richer the future looks.
After we collected the data for all 83 places with more than 5,000 people in Iowa, we ranked each place from 1 to 83 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the richest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Rich Score” with the place having the lowest overall Rich Score, Bondurant, crowned the “Richest City In Iowa For 2023”. You can download the data here.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 83 places.
Summary: The Wealthiest Places In Iowa For 2023
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the richest places in Iowa, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Iowa.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very top of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you’re curious enough, here are the poorest cities in Iowa, according to data:
2nd Poorest: Denison
3rd Poorest: Keokuk
For more Iowa reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Richest Cities In Iowa
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