Where Everybody in Des Moines is Moving From

Do you love bacon? Did you know you can celebrate “international bacon fellowship” every year?

You can, in Des Moines, IA at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. If something healthier is more to your liking, the city is also home to a farmers market that averages 25,000 visitors a week.

The bacon festival and the farmers market might both become even more popular, if local population growth is any indication. The Des Moines metro-area population went from 634,740 to 645,911, a 1.8 percent increase, between July 2016 and July 2017, according to the latest census data. During that time, the population of Polk County, where Des Moines is located, went from 474,768 to 481,830, a 1.8 percent increase. (The metro area includes five total counties, so it has a larger population than Polk County does.)

Some of that growth is due to local births, of course, but some is due to new arrivals of a different type. In fact, a total of 27,344 people moved to Polk County between 2011 and 2015, according to another census study.

So where are all those people coming from?

That same study gives us a pretty good idea. Somewhat more than half (58 percent, 15,948 people), came from other counties in Iowa, and 42 percent (11,396) moved from other states.

Below are rankings for the top five counties of origin for movers to Polk County:

Movers outside of Iowa:

Origin Number of movers Percent from out-of-state
Cook County, IL (Chicago 429 3.8%
Arapahoe County, CO (Aurora) 238 2.1%
Maricopa County, AZ 237 2.1%
Hennepin County, MN (Minneapolis) 236 2.1%
Benton County, Arkansas (Bentonville) 186 1.6%

Movers from Iowa:

Origin Number of movers Percent from in-state
Dallas County 2,969 18.6%
Story County 1,443 9%
Warren County 1,283 8%
Linn County 1,201 7.5%
Jasper County 1,014 6.4%


Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

Greater Des Moines Partnership

U.S. Census Bureau

Elizabeth Whalen