The 10 Cities In Iowa With The Highest Divorce Rates For 2019

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 264,415 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 2019.

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.

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 Cherokee, with 16.6% 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 2013-2017 Community Survey, the overall divorce rate in Iowa is 10.6%, 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 2013-2017 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 79 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, Cherokee.

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

Now on to a deeper look at the top ten.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,018
Divorce Rate: 16.6%
Divorcees: 749
Median Income: $45,103
More on Cherokee: Data

Cherokee is a city in Cherokee County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,253 at the 2010 Census, down from 5,369 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Cherokee County.

Knoxville, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,202
Divorce Rate: 16.5%
Divorcees: 1,069
Median Income: $43,986
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.

Fort Madison, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,634
Divorce Rate: 16.3%
Divorcees: 1,560
Median Income: $43,631
More on Fort Madison: PhotosData

Fort Madison is a city and a county seat of Lee County, Iowa, United States along with Keokuk. Of Iowa’s 99 counties, Lee County is the only one with two county seats. The population was 11,051 at the 2010 census. Located along the Mississippi River in the state’s southeast corner, it lies between small bluffs along one of the widest portions of the river.

Maquoketa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,954
Divorce Rate: 16.3%
Divorcees: 873
Median Income: $46,173
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.

Newton, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,085
Divorce Rate: 15.9%
Divorcees: 2,158
Median Income: $48,847
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.

Creston, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,860
Divorce Rate: 15.1%
Divorcees: 1,068
Median Income: $42,198
More on Creston: PhotosData

Creston is a city in and the county seat of Union County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,834 at the 2010 census.

Atlantic, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,787
Divorce Rate: 14.8%
Divorcees: 904
Median Income: $39,702
More on Atlantic: PhotosData

Atlantic is a city in, and the county seat of, Cass County, Iowa, United States, located along the East Nishnabotna River. The population was 7,112 in the 2010 census, a decline from the 7,257 population in the 2000 census.

Charles City, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,427
Divorce Rate: 14.8%
Divorcees: 989
Median Income: $40,610
More on Charles City: PhotosData

Charles City is a city in Floyd County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,652 at the 2010 census a decrease of 160, or 2%, from 7,812 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Floyd County. Charles City is a significant commercial and transportation center for the area, located on U.S. Highways 18 and 218, Iowa Highway 14, and the Canadian National and Iowa, Chicago and Eastern Railroads.

Council Bluffs, IA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 62,317
Divorce Rate: 14.7%
Divorcees: 8,244
Median Income: $49,750
More on Council Bluffs: PhotosData

Council Bluffs is a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States. The city is the most populous Omaha suburb and a principal city in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. It is located on the east bank of the Missouri River, across from Omaha, Nebraska. Council Bluffs was known, until at least 1853, as Kanesville. It was the historic starting point of the Mormon Trail. Kanesville is also the northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trails, since there was a steam powered boat to ferry their wagons, and cattle, across the Missouri River.

Oskaloosa, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,531
Divorce Rate: 14.7%
Divorcees: 1,525
Median Income: $41,392
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.

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 Cherokee, IA 16.6%
2 Knoxville, IA 16.5%
3 Fort Madison, IA 16.3%
4 Maquoketa, IA 16.3%
5 Newton, IA 15.9%
6 Creston, IA 15.1%
7 Atlantic, IA 14.8%
8 Charles City, IA 14.8%
9 Council Bluffs, IA 14.7%
10 Oskaloosa, IA 14.7%
11 Fort Dodge, IA 14.5%
12 Des Moines, IA 14.2%
13 Burlington, IA 14.2%
14 Centerville, IA 14.1%
15 Mason City, IA 14.0%
16 Anamosa, IA 13.9%
17 Oelwein, IA 13.7%
18 Nevada, IA 13.7%
19 Washington, IA 13.7%
20 Clinton, IA 13.5%
21 Muscatine, IA 13.2%
22 Norwalk, IA 13.1%
23 Ottumwa, IA 13.0%
24 Waterloo, IA 12.8%
25 Marion, IA 12.8%
26 Keokuk, IA 12.8%
27 Sioux City, IA 12.3%
28 Davenport, IA 12.2%
29 Eldridge, IA 12.1%
30 Grimes, IA 12.0%
31 Hiawatha, IA 12.0%
32 Red Oak, IA 12.0%
33 Ankeny, IA 12.0%
34 Fairfield, IA 11.9%
35 West Des Moines, IA 11.8%
36 Johnston, IA 11.7%
37 Mount Pleasant, IA 11.7%
38 Clarinda, IA 11.7%
39 Vinton, IA 11.6%
40 Algona, IA 11.5%
41 Marshalltown, IA 11.5%
42 Cedar Rapids, IA 11.5%
43 Indianola, IA 11.2%
44 Winterset, IA 11.2%
45 Boone, IA 11.1%
46 Clear Lake, IA 11.1%
47 Iowa Falls, IA 11.0%
48 Webster City, IA 10.9%
49 Carroll, IA 10.9%
50 Dubuque, IA 10.8%
51 Bettendorf, IA 10.8%
52 Estherville, IA 10.8%
53 Grinnell, IA 10.5%
54 Independence, IA 10.4%
55 Manchester, IA 10.4%
56 Spencer, IA 10.2%
57 Glenwood, IA 10.1%
58 Le Mars, IA 10.0%
59 Bondurant, IA 10.0%
60 Storm Lake, IA 9.7%
61 Altoona, IA 9.7%
62 Perry, IA 9.5%
63 North Liberty, IA 9.1%
64 Pleasant Hill, IA 9.0%
65 Urbandale, IA 8.6%
66 Coralville, IA 7.9%
67 Waukee, IA 7.8%
68 Clive, IA 7.8%
69 Asbury, IA 6.9%
70 Iowa City, IA 6.7%
71 Decorah, IA 6.5%
72 Pella, IA 6.5%
73 Cedar Falls, IA 6.2%
74 Waverly, IA 5.5%
75 Sheldon, IA 4.7%
76 Ames, IA 4.4%
77 Denison, IA 3.8%
78 Sioux Center, IA 3.0%
79 Orange City, IA 2.9%

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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