Best known as home to Iowa State University (ISU), Ames and Story County offer an excellent quality of life for not just students but also young families, professionals and retirees, including a more laid back, slower pace than nearby Des Moines, yet easy access just 30 miles away.
The population in Ames is over 66,000 (compared to more than 217,000 in Des Moines) and roughly half is made up of college students.
The community has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and many recent grads easily transition to the local workforce. Industries and businesses in Ames provide enough opportunities for career starters to put their freshly acquired knowledge and skills to work.
Meanwhile, people who have ties to Iowa grew up knowing what a great place Ames/Story County is, and as they start families and settle down, this is a first choice.
Kelsey Carper is one example. She and her husband both attended Iowa State and returned after working in another state for a few years to settle permanently. The local economy has also allowed Carper to be an entrepreneur. She is the owner of a spin studio, a real estate agent and a mother of a 2-year-old.