If you are in search of a new place to live and the Midwest is calling your name, Iowa might be a consideration for you.
Iowa is situated between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and is definitely a Midwestern state.
It is well known for its cornfields and rolling plains.
Iowa is home to three state universities and is nicknamed the Hawkeye State.
Des Moines is the capital of Iowa.
As with any state, there are positives and negatives to consider.
Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when thinking about making the move to Iowa.
25 Pros of Living in Iowa
1. Wind Power Rules
Close to 40 percent of the electricity in the state comes from the wind.
They have the highest grouping of wind turbines across the US.
They utilize more than 3,200 wind turbines to supply electricity to the state.
2. Hills & Prairies
Many mistakenly think that Iowa is a flat state, but that is not entirely true.
Many of the distinct landmarks in Iowa are hills.
One of those is the Loess Hills which resulted from the soil being blown by the wind during the Ice Age.
These hills are found in the western part of the state.
3. A Welcoming Place For Meditation
Iowa is the hub in the Southeast for Transcendental Meditation.
A prominent yogi opened the Maharishi School of Management, which is one of the places where medication is practiced in large groups.
4. Inviting For All Writers
The University of Iowa has been hosting Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop for almost 80 years.
The Writers’ Workshop is a graduate-level creative writing program.
Infamous authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Frost, Flannery O’Connor, and John Irving have participated as faculty or students.
5. Bridges Of Madison Country
The Bridges of Madison County was a book turned into a movie.
Those covered bridges are real and reside in Madison County, Iowa.
There once were 19 bridges spanning back to the 1800s.
There are only six left in the county today.
The most famous of all the bridges is the Holliwell Bridge, as it was featured prominently in the movie.
6. Largest Bike Touring
Iowa is home to the biggest bike touring event across the world.
The Des Moines Register has sponsored the event since the early 1970s.
The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is an event that takes an entire week.
Participants cycle from the western side of Iowa, which is home to the Missouri River, to the eastern side, which touches the Mississippi River.
The route changes each year, but they have covered every single town in every county.
This race has gone through 780 towns within 99 counties.
At one time, more than 23,000 cyclists participated in specific parts of the race.
A limit has since been put in place, so there are only 8,500 participants for the entire week.
Lance Armstrong has cycled in some of the rides.
7. Cost Of Living
Iowa is ranked as one of the most affordable states.
It varies slightly based on where you live in Iowa, but overall, it costs about 10 percent less to live in Iowa than in any other state.
Just about everything in Iowa is more affordable, from the utilities to the transportation to the groceries.
Iowa has been highly ranked as a state where the cost to own a vehicle is low.
8. Housing Cost
Iowa is a state with an incredibly low cost of housing.
The average price of a home in Iowa is almost 40 percent less than the average across the nation.
The median cost of a house in Iowa is $141,200, which is compared to the national median cost of $231,200.
That is almost less than half the cost.
The average value of a house in Iowa is $138,600, which is on the rise.
There are houses on the market for $180,000.
Renting is also an option in Iowa.
You can expect to pay about $1,100 per month in rent for a house.
You can expect an apartment rental to cost anywhere between $571 and $1,113 per month, depending on the city in which you wish to live.
In the capital of Des Moines and around the colleges, you can expect to pay more.
9. Job Growth And The Economy
Iowa is considered to be a farming state.
Agriculture is a large part of the economy in Iowa, but it is not the only factor in the economy.
In the agricultural part of the state, they grow soybeans and corn.
There is a large amount of production of livestock.
Beef, cattle, pigs, chicken, eggs, and milk are the largest parts of the agriculture.
Parts of Iowa are beginning to turn towards more sustainable portions of their economy.
Iowa manufacturers items, too.
The items they manufacturer include heavy machinery, agricultural chemicals, and food processing.
Part of their sustainable processes includes generating renewable energy by producing electricity from wind.
There are also many various types of jobs available, including web developers, occupational therapists, dentists, nurses, and many others.
10. High Ranking Education
Iowa has a high school graduation rate that is high.
It is higher than what you find in most states.
The students in Iowa have consistently high SAT and ACT scores.
If you have kids who are on track to go to college, moving to Iowa may be a smart decision.
Iowa is home to some great universities, including Iowa State University, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa.
There are even some high-rated liberal arts colleges which include Grinnell College and Luther College.
The liberal arts schools have a higher price tag, which is why it is significant that the state schools are so highly ranked.
11. Not Much Traffic
Despite the fact that Iowa is not as rural as people think, it really is not as urban either.
Iowa has larger cities that are more urban than rural, but their traffic has not become the problem that you will find in large cities.
They do not have a lot of traffic congestion or traffic jams.
12. Decreased Crime Rate
Iowa has a low rate of crime when compared to national averages.
They have a 20 percent lower rate of violent crimes.
Iowa also has ten percent less property crime than the national average.
There are fewer homeowners with security systems in their homes.
Many people do have dogs, which could be seen as a more natural security system.
Break-ins to people’s vehicles may be something the average person has happen to them in the crime arena.
13. Enjoy All The Seasons
There are not many states that can honestly say they experience all four seasons.
In Iowa, you will get all the seasons without missing one.
You will get hot and humid weather in the summer, as well as all the rain.
You can expect the temperatures to be in the 80s and 90s.
The temperatures reach their highest in July.
The hot, humid, and rainy weather is ideal for growing soybeans and corn.
You can expect that January will be the coldest month.
The temperature in January will not come close to 30 degrees.
And there is snow.
You can expect to see around 9 inches of average snowfall.
The spring brings lush greens along with cool brightness.
During the fall, the air turns crisp and causes the leaves to turn many colors.
14. Plenty Of Eggs To Go Around
If you like eggs, Iowa is the place for you.
There are just about 67 million chickens living in Iowa.
There are more chickens in Iowa than there are people in Texas and California combined.
All of those chickens account for 15 billion eggs produced per year.
That is certainly enough eggs for you to have them any way you like them at any time.
15. Great Food
The people of Iowa like to think of themselves as foodies.
They proudly wear that title.
They have many craft beer options and various cuisines.
You certainly have many cattle, beef, chicken, and dairy options.
You will not find much in the way of seafood options, at least not freshly caught seafood.
16. Art Scene
While there may not be much activity and entertainment happening in rural Iowa, it does have a collection of artistic individuals.
Iowa even hosts an award-winning arts festival.
17. Swine Industry
Iowa is home to 22.6 million pigs.
There are seven times more pigs than there are people in Iowa.
The swine industry is huge in Iowa, which also means there is an abundance of bacon.
18. People Friendly
Iowa gives you that small-town vibe and all the niceties that go along with it.
They have a wide range of residents from small-time farmers to company bigwig types and everything in between.
No matter who you are or what you do, everyone is nice to everyone else.
You will always get a wave or a hello from someone you pass on the street, even when you do not know them.
Strangers are quick to walk up to people to make new friends.
There are an abundance of parties and BBQs, especially when the state colleges are playing during football season.
19. Low Unemployment
The unemployment rate in Iowa is 2.9 percent, which is almost half of the national average.
The national average rate of unemployment across the US is 4.1 percent.
Iowa has many areas where people can find jobs, even in the most rural areas.
Even though the minimum wage is low, there is a low cost of living to help balance the scales.
20. Progressive State
Most people think of the residents of Iowa as progressive and liberal.
They are generally considered educated and thoughtful.
They tend to run down the middle of the road with their philosophies and politics.
Despite this, they are considered to be a fairly homogenous group of people.
However, they have a fair amount of diversity for a Midwestern state.
21. Love Of Butter
If you love butter, you will feel right at home in this state.
The residents of Iowa are serious about their butter.
They even carve statues out of butter and put them on display.
If there were a state dessert, it would be scotcheroo, which is a combination of Rice Krispies, peanut butter, and chocolate.
You will find it at every party, event, and holiday gathering.
22. Field Of Dreams
Remember the movie Field of Dreams?
So does Iowa because the field shown in the movie is in Dyersville, Iowa.
There is also Adventureland which was featured in the movie with the same title.
It is an amusement park that has rides, attractions, and shows.
23. Lots Of Corn
The primary export of Iowa is corn, which is probably not a surprise to most people.
They produce more corn than any other state due to their fertile and rich topsoil.
They produce millions of bushels a year.
Most of this corn is reserved for animal feed or to produce ethanol.
A large part of this corn is not eaten by humans.
24. Ice Cream Capital Of The World
If you know ice cream, then you know Blue Bunny.
Le Mars, Iowa, is well known for ice cream.
Wells Enterprise, Inc. is the manufacturer of most of the ice cream novelties around the world.
The Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor is run by them and still operates today in Le Mars.
25. Plenty of Hiking and Camping
Iowa has numerous state parks to visit when you are there.
They have a rich history that has its roots in Mormon tradition.
Preparation was settled by a Mormon leader who broke away from the group of Mormons heading for Utah to settle.
The town of Preparation is no longer there, but Preparation State Park remains.
This beautiful park is an ideal location for hiking and camping.
25 Cons of Living in Iowa
1. Extreme Weather
Iowa has the benefit of four actual weather seasons.
There is a downside to the four seasons.
You will experience the extremes in the weather.
Iowa is subject to tornados.
Iowa sits in the northern part of Tornado Alley, and there are several storms each year.
They are most prevalent during May and June.
When living in Iowa, you can expect slow.
It may look pretty, but you will see a lot of blizzards because of the strong winds and snow blowing across a mostly flat state.
It will be cold because Iowa has wind chill factors as low as 50 degrees below zero.
2. High Income Tax
If you move to Iowa and work there, it is pretty easy not to think about the taxes in a state where you want to move.
That is a mistake.
Taxes are a large part of life, and they should be considered as part of your decision.
If you have a well-paying job or are getting large amounts of money from tax-deferred retirement accounts, taxes may hit you hard. Iowa is a state with a progressive income tax system.
What this means for you is the more money you make, the higher percentage your state income tax liability will be.
The rates for income tax are anywhere from 0.33 percent to 8.53 percent.
The highest tax rate of 8.53 percent applies to incomes of $74,970 or more.
The high end of the income tax percentage for Iowa is within the ten highest tax percentages nationwide.
3. Not Much Happening
It is not a huge surprise that there is not much in the way of entertainment in rural places.
Iowa does not have any professional sports teams.
You have to travel to one of the nearby big cities for a live game.
These cities include St. Louis or Chicago.
There are no beaches or oceans in Iowa.
You will not even find a mountain.
There are very few water sports or beaches in Iowa.
You will not find the same level of restaurants that you would find in a big city like New York or Chicago.
Do not expect any fresh seafood while in Iowa.
4. Everybody Knows Your Name
You can look at this as a good thing or a bad thing, but for now, it is being marked as a con.
When everyone knows who you are, that usually means that everyone is also in your business.
They also make it their business to know your business, comment on it, and tell you how to go about your business.
Such a close personal relationship means that, when you have a problem, it goes around town quickly.
If you are a quiet, discreet person, this may not work well for you.
You may not find a lot of diversity in a small town.
5. Iowa Caucuses
No matter how you lean politically, you cannot avoid it all the time in Iowa.
No matter your politics or your affiliations, Iowa is overrun with candidates, pundits, and of course, the media during the Iowa Caucuses.
You will not be able to avoid it unless you are not in Iowa at the time.
6. Odd Laws
No matter in which state you live, I am sure you have looked up some of the strangest laws on the books for that state.
Most of them have been abolished by now.
There are still some states that have some crazy laws still in effect.
Iowa is no stranger to odd laws.
What is even more interesting is that something occurred to make legislatures sign these into law.
7. Natural Disasters
There are a large number of natural disasters that you may find yourself subjected to while in Iowa.
These include flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and ice storms.
You cannot have an ice storm without blizzards and severe winter storms.
The winter does not get to have all the fun because there are also landslides, drought, earthquakes, lightning, hail, and thunder, along with extreme heat.
8. Minimum Wage
The minimum wage for Iowa is lower than many other states.
Their minimum wage is around $7.25 per hour, which is the minimum set by Federal law.
While there are many other states that also have a minimum wage of $7.25, there are plenty that start much higher than that.
They have not increased the minimum wage in the state recently.
9. Have To Stream Music
If you enjoy listening to music on the radio, you are going to have to find another way in Iowa.
Radio stations are not on the top of their list of must-haves in the state.
They do not have much to offer in the form of good music.
10. Slow Technological Growth
While Iowa has a decent amount of bandwidth to get things done online, there is not much happening in the way of technology.
While there are techy jobs available, there are not many amazing techy jobs.
Depending on the city in which you live, there may be more tech jobs available.
11. Fewer Shopping Choices
If you are a die-hard shopper and enjoy going into a wide selection of stores, you may have difficulties in Iowa.
In some areas, you have to drive out of town to get to the store of your choice.
Some people have to drive to get to a grocery store, and by drive, we mean 45 minutes to get to their closest grocery store.
12. Not Enough Diversity
There is some minimal diversity throughout the state of Iowa.
There is more diversity in some cities than in others, but they still have a long way to go.
You will not often come into contact with people of different religions or ethnicities.
Most people in Iowa recognize the need for tolerance and more diversity, but the area needs more work.
13. Behind In Education
While across the state, education is highly rated, Des Moines does not follow suit.
The students in Des Moines usually score a 5.7 out of 10 when it comes to readiness for college.
This number is below average for the state.
It is the largest school system in the state and is terribly underfunded.
14. Public Transportation Is A Large Concern
When compared to other major cities, Des Moines does not have much to offer in the way of public transportation.
While it is considered a major city in Iowa, most people require cars to get around the state.
As a result, there is not a strong public transportation offering in the city.
15. High Health Insurance Cost
Health insurance premiums in Iowa are higher than the national health care cost average.
The average cost of health care across the country is $374, but for those living in Iowa, the cost increases to about $429 per person.
Again, the cost of insurance may be higher, but the cost of living remains low, which may help it balance out some.
16. Iowa Caucus Not for Everyone
You cannot avoid the Iowa caucus if you live in Iowa, right?
That may not be completely accurate. It is an in-person system that is not accessible to those who have different situations.
For those who work at night, they may not be able to access it.
Those who have health problems, need childcare, or spend winter in another state may have difficulty accessing the caucus.
17. Caucus Can Be A Long Night
There are many great things about have the Iowa caucus, including the number of candidates that show up.
The number of candidates creates a problem, too.
There are so many people who show up as candidates, it can make for a long evening.
It becomes quite a process.
It starts at 7:30 pm and can take as long as 17 hours to determine the winner.
18. High Humidity
If you do not enjoy hot and humid weather, then you should not consider Iowa.
It is hot and humid throughout the summer.
You are going to sweat a lot.
Your hair is going to suffer from the humidity, too.
19. Wildlife Is Abundant
You may enjoy seeing a deer run through your backyard while you are sipping your coffee in the morning.
However, that same deer is going to dart out in front of you while you are driving on the road.
You can also expect to see rabbits, squirrels, possums, and raccoons darting out in front of you as you drive down the road.
20. Healthy Eating Is Not A Huge Concern
If you are attempting to maintain a diet that leans more towards healthy and nutritious food, Iowa is not going to meet your needs.
Comfort food abounds in Iowa.
You will always be able to find a great burger, mac and cheese, and gravy.
There is always something good, greasy, and fried available.
While it may taste good, it may not be good for your cholesterol levels.
21. Severe Thunderstorms
There is not a shortage of severe weather in Iowa.
Every season brings its own special climate.
The thunderstorms are loud and booming.
If loud sounds bother you, you may not make it through thunderstorm season.
22. Plenty of Bugs
Iowa has its fair share of bugs.
Not only are they giant bugs, but they are plentiful.
There are gigantic mosquitos and boxelder bugs.
The Japanese beetles swarm you, and the cicadas make a ton of noise.
23. Unpredictable Weather
Not only are you facing extremes in the weather when in Iowa, but it is also all over the place.
Iowa residents never know how the weather will change in the course of a day.
Locals joke that they keep complete outfit changes in their cars because they face drastic changes in climate and temperature in just one day.
24. Polar Vortex
You may not, but those living in Iowa do.
They have been through it, and that is something not many people can say.
It is a period of incredibly bitter cold weather and wind.
The cold and wind are no joke in Iowa, and a polar vortex makes it even more challenging.
25. Food Trucks
Roadside food purchases may be appealing to some and a total turn-off to others.
While this may not be a real con for all, it is for some.
It is not unusual to see a random farmer on the side of the road selling their crop.