"I've never had a way with women / But the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could / And I've never found a way to say I love you / But if the chance came by, oh I, I would / But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother / We never make our passions other people's concern / And we walk in the world of safe people / And at night we walk into our houses and burn." - Dar Williams, "Iowa" plant
Life in Iowa

It is true that much of Iowa's reputation revolves around farming, particularly corn. The state, located in the middle of the U.S., is certainly a rural state, with tons of farmland and lots of agriculture that drives the state's economy. But if you're thinking about a move to Iowa, it doesn't have to end up being just like _Green Acres. _In fact, Iowa is also home to several large, world-class cities, many that offer access to everything the best cities in the U.S. do: dining, entertainment, the arts, luxury living and more. That's one thing that makes Iowa special: it's a place that appeals to both city-slickers and country folk alike. From the bright lighted streets of Des Moines to the waterfronts of Davenport and the sprawling fields of Dubuque, Iowa has a little something for everyone, and it's a great place for people of all ages and with a range of interests to call home.

Moving to Iowa

If you decide to move to Iowa, congratulations! You're in luck. The state is full of real estate, and there is plenty of room to sprawl out. The first step in any move is to prepare the information you'll need for renting. You'll want to have papers to prove your identity and financial stability. Some of the documents that you'll want to gather before you begin your search include copies of your IDs and documents, bank statements, tax returns from previous years, letters of income proving how much you earn, a letter of employment proving that you are employed, letters of reference from previous landlords to prove that you are a good tenant, personal letters of reference to prove that you're a good person, and anything else your potential landlords might want.

Check with each management company before you begin your search to make sure you're well prepared! Putting in a full application is often the only way to secure an apartment, and you don't want someone else to snatch one out from under you, particularly if you've found your dream home. You'll also want to be prepared to put down a deposit for a place. Deposits usually equal the first month's rent plus a security deposit equal to the first month's rent. (Sometimes, they can be equal to three months' rent!) Be ready to put the deposit down to officially claim the apartment as your own.

Cities in Iowa

Obviously, another important step when finding rental housing in Iowa is to narrow down the location of your search. Are you interested in living in a bustling city? Are you commuting somewhere? Are you looking to start a farm? All of these things are important to keep in mind when moving to Iowa, especially to ensure that you don't waste time searching in an area that you won't actually want to end up living in. Are you interested in moving to Iowa? Check out the list below. It contains some helpful information about cities and regions across the state so you can narrow down your search and end up calling the right place home.

Des Moines: Are you a fan of big cities? If so, this is one of the best spots in the state to consider settling into. Des Moines has a ton of rental options, from one-bedroom apartments for rent to rental homes. One reason for this is that the city itself is BIG! It's the capital of the state, and it's also the state's most populous city. Today, you can find tall high-rise buildings in the city's downtown area, and it feels like the bustling center of any large metro hub. There are also lots of suburban areas where you can spread out more and have a house and yard. One other reason Des Moines is a draw for many movers is because it has a thriving culture. It's home to the Des Moines Performing Arts Center, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Ballet Des Moines, the Des Moines Symphony and the Wells Fargo Arena, which hosts sports in addition to concerts and live events. Des Moines is located in the central part of Iowa.

Iowa City and Eastern Iowa: Eastern Iowa, which is home to the large Iowa City, is another bustling part of the state. The city itself is home to the University of Iowa and the world-famous Iowa Writers' Workshop, so there's tons happening here. If you're into history, this is a great place in Iowa to consider relocating to. There are tons of historic downtown areas in small towns across the region, so it's definitely a place to consider moving if you're looking for something quaint and antique. You can find even more history at the museums in this area (of which it has many!). Some of the great establishments to visit include the Figge Art Museum, the Putnam Museum, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and many more.

Western Iowa: Are you more of a country type? If so, this might just be the place you end up. Some of the most beautiful scenery is in this area, and some of the largest rental housing options in Iowa are in this part of the state, too. The biggest city in Western Iowa is Sioux City, with a bustling historic downtown and a few other historic sites. There are beautiful natural attractions in Western Iowa as well, including the Iowa Great Lakes (with beautiful resorts) and the rolling topography of the Loess Hills. There's plenty of man-made fun to be had here, too. The Arnolds Park Amusement Park and the Danish Immigrant Museum draw people from all over the country.

Northern Iowa: Want to get away from it all? Then Northern Iowa is the spot for you. This part of the state is home to lots of dramatic landscapes - from steep hills and deep valleys to dense forests and extensive meadows. Waterloo is one of the most famous cities in the region, and it's home to the Grout Museum and the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area. Dubuque is another popular place to call home. It's home to the National Mississippi River Museum, an aquarium, and the Port of Dubuque. If you're looking to spread out, relax and live far from neighbors (but have nice ones when you see them), then northern Iowa is definitely the region you should look in.

Living in Iowa

There is such a range in the cities of Iowa - from the smallest of the rural to the greatest of the urban - that you can really find what you're looking for in terms of lifestyle and leisure activities. Many people in Des Moines work in the city proper, commuting in daily or calling the center of the city home. For those that live in Des Moines, there is also the opportunity to take in world-class arts and dining, as well as top-notch touring entertainment like live concerts, Broadway shows and art exhibits, since the city is a cultural draw in the middle of the country.

For those that are interested in agriculture, farming and getting out of the hustle and bustle of cities, Iowa is an excellent place to do that as well. Agricultural options are spread throughout the state, and the state is known for growing corn, as well as soybeans.

Iowa's not just about growing things, either; in fact, the state has a good deal of entertainment options for residents and visitors. The Western Part of the state is home to the Arnolds Park Amusement Park, which is one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. The central part of the state has tons of opportunities for recreation as well; it's home to the Iowa State Fair, Adventureland, several racetracks and casinos and the beloved Trainland USA.

All in all, the offerings in Iowa are as varied and changing as the landscape of the area itself. Whether you're looking for peace and quiet or to enrich your life with the vibrancy of a city, you'll definitely be able to find the right place to call home if you move to the state of Iowa.

IA Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states

Here’s how IA ranks on:

Overall satisfaction
Safety and crime rate
Jobs and career opportunities
Recreational activities
Quality of schools
Social Life
Commute time
State and local taxes
Public transit

Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released Iowa’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"Iowa renters expressed general satisfaction with the state overall," according to Apartment List. "They gave most categories above-average or average scores."

Key findings in Iowa include the following:

  • Iowa renters gave their state a B- overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for Iowa were quality of local schools, which received an A+, and safety and low crime rate and commute time, which both received A grades.
  • The areas of concern to Iowa renters are weather (C) and public transit (C+).
  • Millennial renters are unsatisfied with their state, giving it an overall rating of C.
  • Iowa earned similar scores compared to nearby Missouri (B-), but earned lower scores than Minnesota (A+), Wisconsin (A) and Illinois (B+).
  • Iowa earned similar scores to other states nationwide, including Michigan (B-), Washington (B-) and Oregon (B-).
  • The top rated states nationwide for renter satisfaction include Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho and Minnesota. The lowest rated states include Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana.