Friday, November 11, 2011

The Best State to Live in the Central US

The central United States encompasses a broad area, making it difficult to determine the best states to live in. Several places in this region deserve a spot on the list for one reason or another. From Colorado to Texas and Indiana to Nebraska, many states were in contention for the top honor, but when it came down to the wire, Iowa as the best central state was the clear winner. With a good economy, strong job market and some of the nation’s best schools, Iowa can accurately be named one of the best places to live in the United States.

Best Central State - Iowa

Best City to Live in Iowa

Ames, Iowa is a community of approximately 60,000 people, and its residents contend that it is one of the best cities to live in Iowa. Located 30 miles from Des Moines, Ames is the home to the Iowa State University of Science and Technology, a major employer within the community. Perhaps this is the reason that the unemployment rate in Ames is only 4.3%, less than half of the national average. Median family income is upwards of $77,000 and the median home price is $175,000. Job growth is up nearly 16% since 2000 and school test scores in Ames are an average of 22.5% higher than state scores. Nearly 16% of the city’s residents bike or walk to work, which may account for the city’s 99% air quality rating. Ames has 36 parks and plenty of recreational activities, making this an amazing place to raise a family.

Best City in Iowa

Cheapest Place to Live in Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa was named on Kiplinger’s “50 Smart Places to Live”, coming in at number 10. The sixth largest city in the state, Iowa City has a population of nearly 67,000 while still maintaining a small-town feel. Home to the University of Iowa, median family income here is $57,568. Home prices start in the low $100,000 range, making ownership easily affordable. Utilities in Iowa City are 20% less than the national average, while costs for groceries, housing and healthcare also fall below national expenditures. The unemployment rate here is 3.6%, nearly two-thirds less than the national percentage, and job growth stands at 1.06% and climbing.

Cheapest Place in Iowa

Best Place to Retire in Iowa

When searching for the best places to retire, Ankeny, Iowa pops up time and time again. Over the past five years, the 55 and older population in this city has soared with an 87.3% increase in the amount of seniors living in the area. Median household income for those 55 or older is $58,000, while the median home price in the area is $164,500. Ankeny has an approximate population of 38,000 with senior citizens accounting for nearly 15% of that number. Its close proximity to Des Moines means that the arts, culture and entertainment of Iowa’s biggest city are only minutes away. Ankeny offers the quiet life many retirees desire while still remaining close to the convenience of a large city.

Iowa boasts a growing job market, low unemployment rate and relatively inexpensive cost of living across the board, making it the best place to live in the central United States. Whether you are looking for a new city to raise a family, a haven in which to retire or an inexpensive location to start a new business venture, Iowa has a place for you.

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