Pros And Cons Of Living In Iowa

If Iowa is calling your name, it is time to learn more about this state, including the good and bad. No matter your reasons for moving to this state, it is important to learn all you can and even consider a visit first.

Key Takeaways

  • Iowa has a lower cost of living than much of the country.
  • Homes are more affordable in the state.
  • Iowa has a lower crime rate than other surrounding states.
  • The state is full of retirement options for seniors.
  • Iowa is considered a great place to raise children.
  • The job market in Iowa is robust and growing.
  • Iowa’s weather can sometimes be extreme.
  • The income tax rate in the state is higher than in some other parts of the country.
  • There are limited recreational activities in the state.
  • Iowa offers no beaches or mountains.
  • Iowa lacks diversity.
map of Iowa

What Should You Know About Iowa?

Iowa is beautiful, with around 64% urban areas and 36% rural. Iowa gives the best of both worlds, offering a small-town feel with a city vibe. Here, you will find boundless produce, rolling lands, city areas, and everything in between.

Currently, there are 3.193 million people living in Iowa. Des Moines is the capital, and the state is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River to the west.

Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa

Pros and Cons of Living in Iowa

No area of the country is going to be perfect for everyone. What is ideal for you may be a dealbreaker for someone else. The following offers the pros and cons of living in the great state of Iowa.

1. Iowa Has a Lower Cost of Living

Many people are surprised to learn that Iowa is one of the least expensive states to live in, in the United States. While some parts are less expensive than others, the overall average of the state is between 10% to 15% lower.

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People in Iowa spend less on their groceries, electricity bills, transportation, and more. With inflation rising across the US, Iowa is looking more attractive now!

2. Iowa Offers Affordable Home Prices

If you are considering a move to Iowa, you will be happy to learn about the affordable home prices. Many people are surprised to learn Iowa’s home prices are around 40% lower than the national average. Homeownership is more attainable in this state.

couple holding a new home key

3. Iowa Offers Lower Crime Rates

Most everyone is concerned about crime these days. Some parts of the country are worse than others when it comes to crime. You will not have to worry about crime as much in Iowa because the rate is around 24% less than the national average. The safest cities in Iowa are as follows.

  • Sioux Center
  • Asbury
  • Decorah
  • Eldridge

Check out: Pros and cons of living in Arkansas

4. Retirement Options Abound in Iowa

Not only is Iowa moderately friendly toward retirees, with its tax rates, but there is also a plethora of options for retirement homes, independent living, and home care.

At the time of this writing, there are approximately 141 retirement communities in the state of Iowa.

senior couples enjoying retirement

5. Iowa Welcomes Families

Iowa is a family-friendly state, making it a perfect place to raise children. Iowa is ranked as the 9th best state to raise a family. The state ranks well in the following areas

  • Health – 14th
  • Safety – 14th
  • Education – 9th
  • Affordability – 9th

6. Iowa’s Job Market Is Flourishing

The state of Iowa is seeing a flourishing job market like never before. The main industries in Iowa are agriculture and manufacturing. At the time of this writing, the unemployment rate is only 3.1% in the state.

job market newspaper hiring ad

7. Iowa Has Severe Weather Extremes

You will experience all four seasons when living in Iowa, but some of them can bring quite severe weather. For instance, in the winter, temperatures will regularly only get as high as the mid-twenties. Iowa gets around 2 to 3 feet of snow each winter.

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The state also gets several tornados a year. Severe weather is more likely to pop up in the summer when temperatures begin to climb.

8. Iowa Has Above-Average Income Tax Rates

Income tax rates are higher in the state, but they are slowly coming down. The government has decided the rate will become a flat rate of 3.9% in 2026.

9. Iowa Is Lacking Recreational Activities

Being a big agricultural state, there are a lot of fields of crops and livestock. Because they take up so much space, it is difficult to find any form of recreational activities to enjoy, though there are some.

welcome to Iowa road sign

10. Iowa Does Not Have Beaches or Mountains

People seem to love the mountains and beaches for fun family getaways, but you will not find them in Iowa. Instead, you will find miles and miles of flat land full of pastures and farms. For some, this is the ideal life. For others, not so much.

11. Iowa Lacks Diversity

Iowa lacks the ethnic diversity of states with big urban areas. Unfortunately, this is common in many agricultural states. If you like living in a melting pot, Iowa may not be for you, but what it is missing in ethnic diversity, it makes up for in small-town familiarity.

large farm with windmills

Is Iowa Your Next Destination?

Iowa is not for everyone, but it is a state everyone should experience at least once in their lives. The crime rates are low, and the job market is booming.

Iowa is a safe place to raise families and offers a small-town feel where everyone knows everyone. If you are considering a move to the state, take the above into consideration before you make a move.

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