Most Americans have never been to Iowa. However, as the people who live there know, Iowa is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Iowa has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Hawkeye State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 562 of Iowa’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Iowa where you’d never want to live:
- Davis City
- Garden Grove
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Iowa has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Iowa, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there’s no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 562 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
1. Davis City
Population: 208 Median Income: $27,083
Median Home Value: $27,500
Population: 150 Median Income: $35,000
Median Home Value: $41,300
Population: 270 Median Income: $38,281
Median Home Value: $23,100
4. Garden Grove
Population: 183 Median Income: $30,833
Median Home Value: $43,400
Population: 147 Median Income: $33,333
Median Home Value: $48,000
Population: 263 Median Income: $29,375
Median Home Value: $54,000
Population: 184 Median Income: $22,143
Median Home Value: $28,000
Population: 143 Median Income: $30,625
Median Home Value: $28,300
Population: 314 Median Income: $33,750
Median Home Value: $45,000
Population: 246 Median Income: $19,000
Median Home Value: $23,900
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Iowa
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Hawkeye State with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Iowa, according to science.
- Best: Underwood
- 2nd Best: Treynor
- 3rd Best: Swisher
For more reading, check out:
Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Iowa