7 Reasons to Move to Iowa Right Now

With a move to Iowa, you’ll give your life a promotion that goes far beyond just career prospects. Here are a few reasons why. 

1. You can afford to live here. 

As the nation’s most affordable state, you get more for your dollar in Iowa. The state’s overall living expenses are 34% below the U.S. average and housing costs are 42% less than the U.S. average – numbers that have attracted new residents from across the country including Stephen and Emily Stiles. As California transplants who attended college in Iowa, they got a glimpse of Iowa’s sense of community and affordability.

Now, as residents of a small town just north of Sioux City, they’ve upgraded from their 1,800-square-foot California home to an 8,800-square-foot home on a 1.7-acre lot – all of which came with a significantly lower price tag than their west coast abode.  

2. The opportunities are infinite. 

Staff at Workiva; Ames, Iowa
Staff at Workiva, Ames.

With a diverse mix of industries powering its economic engine, Iowa is a place where your career can reach new heights. Top industries include:

Iowa also boasts one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates – 2.8% – signaling a thriving job market with plenty of room for growth.

For those interested in charting their own course, the state offers a variety of resources to help their business get off the ground and succeed for the long haul.

With these resources and unwavering support for entrepreneurs, it’s easy to see why Iowa is a top state for startups and U.S. News & World Report’s No. 3 state for opportunity.

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3. Our communities are diverse and welcoming.

World Food and Music Festival, Des Moines.

The diverse array of cultures that call Iowa home are on full display in communities across the state. For example:

These celebrations honor the backgrounds found across Iowa’s vibrant communities through art, song, dance, small businesses and much more.

4. You’ll be surprised by the amazing outdoors.

Man and woman hiking in Loess Hills
Hiking trails, Loess Hills

Iowa is anything but flat. From scenic bluffs and rolling hills to twisting caves, Iowa’s diverse landscape is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

  • Home to 60+ state parks, Iowa offers endless outdoor adventures around every corner. Ascend Backbone State Park’s stunning cliffs, take in majestic views of the Mississippi River while hiking Pikes Peak State Park and more. For added fun, visitors can track their progress across each state park using the Iowa State Park Passport.
  • As the “World Capital of Trails,” Iowa boasts over 2,500 miles of beautifully paved trails across the state.
  • Iowa also hosts the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), the world’s largest bike-touring event which attracts cyclists from across the country.


Raise your glass to Iowa! Whatever your preference, you’ll find a delicious drink to sip and savor at one of our 100 wineries, 115 breweries and 17 distilleries.

5. The arts scene is vibrant and exciting.

Des Moines residents Kyle Kirwan and Sarah Booz.
Kyle Kirwan and Sarah Booz, Des Moines.

Iowa’s arts and culture scene continues to grow through a variety of mediums ranging from live theater and music to art crawls and signature festivals. Support for the arts in Iowa was a huge selling point for Sarah Booz and Kyle Kirwan, an artsy couple who relocated from New York’s Hudson Valley to Des Moines’ East Village.

Not only were they thrilled with their new affordable lifestyle, but they were also pleasantly surprised by the thriving art community found in their new hometown. Kyle even secured a spot to showcase his art at Mainframe Studios, the nation’s largest nonprofit creative workspace.

“There’s a lot of creative energy that I can tap into [here],” Kyle said. “It’s also constructive. This is one of the only places I’ve been where it’s not cutthroat. People are happy for others to succeed… Chasing the art dream is a lot of effort, and to come out here and sort of pool all our resources was really interesting and cool.”

6. Commuting is easy.

The living is easy in Iowa and it’s just as easy to get where you need to go. In fact, Iowa was named the #1 state for best commute by WalletHub based on costs, safety and traffic infrastructure. With shorter, easier commutes – just under 20 minutes on average – you’ll have more time to spend with family, traverse Iowa’s trails, try new restaurants or enjoy a night out.

“We can get anywhere in 20 minutes,” said Dr. Magan Lewis, an agricultural scientist who relocated to Des Moines with her family. “That’s something that I really value because it allows us to then spend time where time is needed. And time is needed with the family.”

7. Farm fresh ingredients mean delicious dining.

Harvestville Farm; Donnellson, Iowa.
Harvestville Farm, Donnellson.

Many of Iowa’s chefs and restaurants have gained national acclaim, while favorites such as Archie’s Waeside and Brazen’s Open Kitchen continue to wow locals and visitors alike. And, as one of the top states for agriculture, Iowa’s farm-to-table dining events and farmers’ markets offer fresh flavors straight from the source.

Ease of access to farm fresh ingredients has also helped restaurants like La Rana Bistro bring their signature menu to life. This intimate woman-owned eatery blends French, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine with Midwestern classics to create must-try dishes like braised pork fettuccine and quiche made from local eggs and produce. La Rana is just one of several noteworthy restaurants across the state.

The life you’ve always wanted is in Iowa. What better time than now to start living it?

Visit our Make Your Move toolkit to request a copy of our “This Is Iowa” statewide guide and calculate how much you’d save by living in Iowa.

Thinking of exploring Iowa as a new place to call home? Click here to connect with an Iowan. Our team is standing by to help you find the community and career that’s right for you.

Published May 23, 2024

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