Cities In Iowa With The Highest Divorce Rates For 2020

We analyzed over 79 places in Iowa to identify the ones that have the highest rates of divorce.

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If you’re married, the thought of divorce has probably popped into your mind at least once.

Come on, admit it.

And if you’re not married, let me tell you that there’s gonna be a point at 2 a.m. when you have a crying baby and haven’t slept in two months that it’s gonna run through your head to run.



But, don’t just take my word for it, take the word of the some 175,419 people living in Iowa over fifteen years of age who are divorced. Or compare that to the 28,339,199 dAmericans who are already divorced in 2020.

A lot of people make the decision to run away – or simply split up – across the Hawkeye State.

Isn’t the divorce rate in America close to 50%? Yes indeed. But that’s not quite what we’re measuring; we are looking at counts and percentages of people over 15 years old who are currently divorced.

You typically calculate that 50% statistic as percent of marriages.

But we are just going to focus on the actual number of divorced people today — what better way to measure marital misery than the straight count of people in Iowa it affects?

So now that we have you biting your nails, rethinking your world view, and pulling out your hair, let’s take a look at the places in Iowa with highest rates of divorcees.

The 10 Cities In Iowa With The Highest Divorce Rates

  1. Oelwein
  2. Oskaloosa (Photos)
  3. Maquoketa (Photos)
  4. Knoxville (Photos)
  5. Winterset (Photos)
  6. Spirit Lake (Photos)
  7. Anamosa (Photos)
  8. Newton (Photos)
  9. Boone (Photos)
  10. Fort Dodge (Photos)

Let’s quickly recap before we dive into the methodology and a closer look at the top ten places in IA.

What is the city in Iowa with the highest divorce rate? That would be Oelwein, with 13.0% of people over 15 years of age being divorced, per the most recent census data.

What is the overall Iowa divorce rate? According to the 2014-2018 Community Survey, the overall divorce rate in Iowa is 7.000000000000001%, which compares to the US divorce rate of 10.9%.

Alrighty, on to how we calculated the places with the highest divorce rates in Iowa.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

How We Determined The Places In Iowa That Get Un-Hitched The Most

Since that this is the 58th category of rankings we are compiling for the site, we had a pretty good idea where to find data on marriage and divorce in America — the U.S. Census Bureau. Because who likes tracking misery more than the U.S. government?

Specifically, we looked at the 2014-2018 American Community Survey specifically table S1201 — Marital Status.

Pretty straight forward on that front — we just had to extract the following column of data:

  • Population 15 Years and Over -> Divorced

There’s some kinda interesting/fun/sad data in there like .1% of female Americans aged 15-19 are divorced, but 0% of males (That’s probably a rounding issue, but still).

But the national data is for another day, today the analysis focuses on the 80 places in Iowa with a population of over 5,000.

We ranked each of these places by the percentage of divorcees over 15 years of age from highest to lowest. We crowned the divorce capital of Iowa the place with the highest incidence of divorcees, Oelwein.

And if you’re trying to avoid divorce, check out Sioux Center, the city with the lowest divorce rate in Iowa.

Now on to a deeper look at the top ten.

Oelwein, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,050
Divorce Rate: 13.0%
Divorcees: 629
Median Income: $40,017
More on Oelwein: Data

Oelwein is a city in Fayette County, Iowa, United States. The population was 6,415 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 4.1% from the 2000 census. The largest community in Fayette County, it is located at the junction of State Highways 3 and 150.

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,505
Divorce Rate: 12.0%
Divorcees: 1,104
Median Income: $44,708
More on Oskaloosa: PhotosData

Oskaloosa is a city in and the county seat of Mahaska County, Iowa, United States. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was a national center of bituminous coal mining. The population was 11,463 in the 2010 census, an increase from 10,938 in the 2000 census.

Maquoketa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,026
Divorce Rate: 12.0%
Divorcees: 578
Median Income: $44,307
More on Maquoketa: PhotosData

Maquoketa is a city in Jackson county in the U.S. state of Iowa. Located on the Maquoketa River, it is the county seat of Jackson County.

Knoxville, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,200
Divorce Rate: 12.0%
Divorcees: 691
Median Income: $45,678
More on Knoxville: PhotosData

Knoxville is a city in Marion County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,313 at the 2010 census, a decrease from 7,731 in the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Marion County. Knoxville is home of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, located next to the famous Knoxville Raceway dirt track.

Winterset, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,203
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 457
Median Income: $52,636
More on Winterset: PhotosData

Winterset is a city in Madison County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,190 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Madison County. Winterset is part of the Des Moines West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Winterset is the birthplace of actor John Wayne.

Spirit Lake, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,021
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 441
Median Income: $52,514
More on Spirit Lake: PhotosData

Anamosa, IA

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,461
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 480
Median Income: $38,919
More on Anamosa: PhotosData

Anamosa is a city in Jones County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,533 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Jones County.

Newton, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,167
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 1,334
Median Income: $47,071
More on Newton: PhotosData

Newton is the county seat and most populous city in Jasper County, Iowa, United States. Located 30 miles east of Des Moines, Newton is in Central Iowa. As of the 2010 Census, the city population was 15,254. It is the home of Iowa Speedway, Maytag Dairy Farms, and the Iowa Sculpture Festival.

Boone, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,529
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 1,102
Median Income: $53,291
More on Boone: PhotosData

Boone is a city in Des Moines Township, and county seat of Boone County, Iowa, United States. It is the principal city of the Boone, Iowa Micropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Boone County. This micropolitan statistical area, along with the Ames, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area comprise the larger Ames-Boone, Iowa Combined Statistical Area. The population of the city was 12,661 at the 2010 census.

Fort Dodge, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,417
Divorce Rate: 11.0%
Divorcees: 2,148
Median Income: $40,271
More on Fort Dodge: PhotosData

Fort Dodge is a city in and the county seat of Webster County, Iowa, United States, along the Des Moines River. The population was 25,206 in the 2010 census, an increase from 25,136 in the 2000 census. Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S. Routes 20 and 169.

Getting Some Closure In Iowa After Untying The Know

Besides just coming up with what we thought would be a great new blog/book title, “Untying the Knot In Iowa: Life After Divorce”, we now have a sense of what places in the Hawkeye State don’t pay much attention to the whole “’til death do we part” phrase.

Try to keep in mind that the reason cities rank where they do in Iowa could be because of the age, education, and income distribution, as all of those things impact the rate of divorce.

And, in all honestly, that’s probably for the best. It’s much better to get out of a toxic relationship than stay it.

Just make sure you have your running shoes ready to go.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Cities With The Highest Divorce Rates In iowa

Rank City Divorce Rate
1 Oelwein, IA 13.0%
2 Oskaloosa, IA 12.0%
3 Maquoketa, IA 12.0%
4 Knoxville, IA 12.0%
5 Winterset, IA 11.0%
6 Spirit Lake, IA 11.0%
7 Anamosa, IA 11.0%
8 Newton, IA 11.0%
9 Boone, IA 11.0%
10 Fort Dodge, IA 11.0%
11 Creston, IA 11.0%
12 Nevada, IA 10.0%
13 Grimes, IA 10.0%
14 Clinton, IA 10.0%
15 Algona, IA 10.0%
16 Centerville, IA 10.0%
17 Burlington, IA 10.0%
18 Charles City, IA 9.0%
19 Waterloo, IA 9.0%
20 Washington, IA 9.0%
21 Altoona, IA 9.0%
22 Ottumwa, IA 9.0%
23 Ankeny, IA 9.0%
24 Muscatine, IA 9.0%
25 Mason City, IA 9.0%
26 Keokuk, IA 9.0%
27 Indianola, IA 9.0%
28 Independence, IA 9.0%
29 Grinnell, IA 9.0%
30 Fort Madison, IA 9.0%
31 Carroll, IA 9.0%
32 Marion, IA 9.0%
33 Des Moines, IA 9.0%
34 Cedar Rapids, IA 9.0%
35 Norwalk, IA 8.0%
36 Webster City, IA 8.0%
37 Red Oak, IA 8.0%
38 Dubuque, IA 8.0%
39 Atlantic, IA 8.0%
40 Council Bluffs, IA 8.0%
41 Iowa Falls, IA 8.0%
42 Clear Lake, IA 8.0%
43 Mount Pleasant, IA 8.0%
44 Bondurant, IA 8.0%
45 Marshalltown, IA 8.0%
46 Sioux City, IA 7.0%
47 Davenport, IA 7.0%
48 Osceola, IA 7.0%
49 West Des Moines, IA 7.0%
50 Eldridge, IA 7.0%
51 Manchester, IA 7.0%
52 Perry, IA 6.0%
53 Spencer, IA 6.0%
54 Vinton, IA 6.0%
55 Clarinda, IA 6.0%
56 Waukee, IA 6.0%
57 Pleasant Hill, IA 6.0%
58 Urbandale, IA 6.0%
59 Estherville, IA 6.0%
60 Bettendorf, IA 6.0%
61 Glenwood, IA 6.0%
62 Hiawatha, IA 6.0%
63 North Liberty, IA 6.0%
64 Johnston, IA 6.0%
65 Le Mars, IA 6.0%
66 Clive, IA 5.0%
67 Waverly, IA 5.0%
68 Decorah, IA 4.0%
69 Iowa City, IA 4.0%
70 Asbury, IA 4.0%
71 Fairfield, IA 4.0%
72 Coralville, IA 4.0%
73 Pella, IA 4.0%
74 Cedar Falls, IA 4.0%
75 Orange City, IA 3.0%
76 Storm Lake, IA 3.0%
77 Denison, IA 3.0%
78 Sheldon, IA 2.0%
79 Ames, IA 2.0%
80 Sioux Center, IA 1.0%

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About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.


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