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6 Reasons To Move to Iowa Right Now

From affordable living to bountiful career opportunities and outstanding outdoor recreation, here's why people are moving to Iowa.

By Brittany Anas on April 6, 2023

Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor, Iowa
Iowa Economic Development Authority

When Brandi Stalzer launched her telehealth therapy practice, she had a unique opportunity to work from anywhere. So, in June 2022, she moved from Denver back to her home state of Iowa. Here, she enjoys very affordable housing prices and access to the amenities she values, such as hiking and biking trails that braid the scenic and rural Lake Red Rock area.

Stalzer, the owner of Stalzer Counseling and Consulting who now lives in the rural south-central part of the state near Lake Red Rock, also savors a divine dining scene an hour away in Des Moines.

“I was missing ‘Iowa Kind. Of course, there are kind people everywhere I have lived, but the type of kindness is different here. It’s a genuine interest and care.”

Brandi Stalzer

Iowa offers newcomers a trademark warm welcome from friendly residents. And they quickly discover a breadth of reasons why the state is one of the nation’s best places to live.

What awaits is a rich collection of standout communities, ample opportunities to build a career, access to spectacular natural features and a vibrant cultural mosaic set in one of the nation’s most affordable locations.

For those seeking work-life balance, the state hits the sweet spot. Here are six great reasons why you should consider a move to Iowa.

1. You Can Afford to Live in Iowa

Iowa is one of the nation’s more affordable locations, with overall living costs at around 88% of the U.S. average and housing costs 27% below the U.S. average.

In fact, Iowa topped the list of the most affordable homes in America, according to homebuyer.com. Buyers will find they get more house for the dollar in Iowa.

The affordable housing market was a huge draw for Nikki Wilcox, communications and marketing director with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, left in 2008 and came back in 2019 with her husband and kids so they could be closer to family.

They bought a home in Marion, a suburb of Cedar Rapids, that was twice the size of the house they had in Virginia Beach and came with a much lower price tag. Cedar Rapids, she’s found, is the “Goldilocks of the Midwest.”

“We’re not too big, not too small, we’re the perfect size,” Wilcox says. “We have outdoor concert venues by the river, the restaurant scene is one of the best in the state, we have a fantastic airport with over a dozen nonstop destinations, our bike trails are some of the best in the country and our vibrant downtown is full of beautiful murals and a buzzing nightlife.”

Iowa Salutes You

Supporting service members is a top priority in Iowa. One resource
the state offers is the Home Base Iowa program for veterans and their spouses. The website provides connections to career opportunities and 27 colleges and universities throughout the state for low-cost education and job training for former service members.

2. There Are Ample Job Opportunities in Iowa

Iowa has a strong agricultural foundation that includes a high concentration of agricultural engineers.

But the state also has a robust mix of industries. More than 180 insurance companies are headquartered in the state. Iowa generates more electricity from wind than any other state, a reason why companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have chosen Iowa for their energy-intensive facilities.

People just starting a career or taking a career to the next level will find that Iowa has plenty to offer. Its diverse economy added 37,000 jobs between 2012 and 2021.

Pella Tulip Time Festival in Iowa
Phil Roeder/Flickr.com

3. Iowa Welcomes All

A critical mass of international companies and a collection of renowned research universities have helped bring people from all over the world to Iowa, where inclusive and welcoming communities make everyone feel at home.

Iowa is also a great place for young professionals looking to grow their careers and fit in with their communities.

“It’s so easy to get involved in the community and make a name for yourself,” Wilcox says. “There’s so many networking events, volunteer opportunities, workplace culture events and young professional events here.”

4. Bask in the Amazing Outdoors of Iowa

It’s easy to maintain an active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle in Iowa in all four seasons. Hikers, cyclists, skiers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts will find ample opportunity to experience the state’s natural features.

Iowa has more than 80 state parks to explore (there is a free Iowa State Park Passport program), from scenic Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor, which offers views of the Wisconsin River flowing into the Mississippi amid tree-covered islands, to Lake Ahquabi State Park near Indianola, which is a popular paddleboard and kayak spot.

Or head for the stunning Loess Hills of western Iowa and stop by Preparation Canyon State Park in Moorhead for a picnic and an invigorating hike.

Downtown Iowa City
Iowa Economic Development Authority

5. Enjoy the Vibrant Arts and Cuisine Scene

Iowa communities offer myriad ways to keep residents entertained and enriched, whether it’s art, music, food or festivals.

Iowa is known for its top-notch festivals, and there are enough events throughout the year to keep anyone’s calendar full, Stalzer says.

“In the spring, Tulip Time in Pella is always fun,” she says. “In the summer, there is the Des Moines Arts Festival, and there are many orchards come fall.”

No matter the time of year, Iowa is a prime destination for fun – one of the many reasons this state is considered a great place to live, work and play.

6. It’s Easy to Get Around in Iowa

Moving to Iowa also means you will have a variety of living options to choose from – all of which offer elbow room, shorter commute times and more time to spend with family and recreate. The average commute time is under 20 minutes, meaning more time can be spent on trails or trying out new restaurants.

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