Moving to Des Moines, IA

Thinking about moving to Des Moines?

You’ll be in good company. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 12,039 people have moved to Des Moines, an increase of 5.9%. New residents are attracted to Des Moines’s scenic views, affordability, and foodie culture.


Des Moines is home to 215,472 Des Moinesers. With an area of 80.9 square miles, Des Moines has a population density of 2,663 persons per square mile, which makes it less dense than many other cities of comparable size.

The Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area boasts a population of 634,725 people, of which Des Moines proper’s population makes up 34%.


Affordable housing is one of best things Des Moines has going for it. The median home value in Des Moines is $119,400, -40% below the US median value, according to Zillow. The median price per square foot in Des Moines is $109. Over the past 5 years, home values in Des Moines have increased by 3%.

Renters in Des Moines will also have an easy time finding affordable housing. The median rent in Des Moines is $1,111 per month, which is 22% lower than the US median. Over the past year, rental rates in Des Moines have decreased by 3.2%.


Des Moines’s economy is on fire. The Des Moines metro area’s GDP grew by 32% between 2011 and 2016, from $37.9 billion in 2011 to $50.2 billion in 2016, a total increase of $12.3 billion. The metro area has a per capita GDP of $79,162. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in Des Moines is $61,844, 5% higher than the national median. Des Moines’s unemployment rate is 3%.


The average annual temperature in Des Moines is 50.85 degrees. The average annual low temperature is 41.4 degrees, while the average annual high is 60.3 degrees. Des Moines’s hottest month is July, during which the average high temperature is 86 degrees, while the coldest month is January, when the average low drops down to 14 degrees.

Des Moines sees an average rainfall of 36.01 inches per year. June is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 4.92 inches, while January is the dryest month, with an average rainfall of 1.02 inches.


Des Moines has an annual violent crime rate of 6.95 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, which is higher than the national median of 3.8 in 1,000. Its property crime rate is 6.95 crimes per 1,000 residents a year, which is lower than the national average of 26.

Traffic & Transportation

Traffic is not as big of a problem in Des Moines as it is in many other US cities. According to a survey conducted by INRIX, the average commuter in Des Moines spends 7.4 hours in traffic each year, with about 4% of their time commuting in a traffic jam, a lower portion than average among US cities.

Walk Score gives Des Moines a walk score of 45.

Cost of Living

Des Moines is a relatively affordable place to live with a low cost of living. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis‘s Regional Price Parity survey, which takes into account cost of living metrics including the price of goods and services and housing, Des Moines has a regional price parity of 103.6, -5.4% below the average for US metro areas.


In terms of racial demographics, Des Moines is 66.2% Non-Hispanic White, 13.4% Hispanic, 10.8% Black, and 6.1% Asian.

84.8% of those over the age of 25 in Des Moines have a high school diploma, a lower rate than nationally. 25.2% of those over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree, which is lower than the national rate. 7.6% of residents have an advanced or professional degree.

In the 2016 presidential election, 40% of Des Moines voters voted for the Republican nominee, while 52% voted for the Democratic nominee.

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