The 10 Most Boring Places In Iowa For 2023

The most boring places in Iowa are Cherokee and Clear Lake for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

There’s no denying it: there are plenty of places in Iowa that are downright beautiful and full of excitement.

Unfortunately, not all towns and cities in Hawkeye State are so lucky.

Just like in all U.S. States, there are definitely some boring places within Iowa’s’ borders. You know the places where everyone has an AARP card and the most exciting thing they do all day is post a picture of their grandchild on Facebook.

Like Cherokee, for instance. In our latest analysis, we found that this city was the most boring city in all of Oklahoma according to Saturday Night Science. But don’t feel bad if you’re a resident of Cherokee. There are plenty of other boring, lackluster places in Iowa as well.

Here they are. Try not to jump out of your seat with excitement.

Don’t freak out, in fact, believe it not, a boring city is actually one a lot of people would like to call home.

Before you get all upset if your city’s name is on the list, rest assured that we didn’t use personal opinion when it comes to what classifies a city or town as “boring” or “exciting”. We crunched actual numbers to figure out which towns are statistically more boring.

Showing this data to you is the kind of thing that a real estate agent knows, but would never share.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Most Boring Places In Iowa For 2023

Cherokee, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Magicpiano | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,154
Average Age: 45.2
% Married: 38.0%
More on Cherokee: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Clear Lake, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Bill Whittaker (talk) | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,642
Average Age: 50.4
% Married: 38.0%
More on Clear Lake: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Manchester, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Kevin Schuchmann | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,112
Average Age: 49.9
% Married: 52.0%
More on Manchester: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Pleasant Hill, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Iowahwyman | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 10,456
Average Age: 40.5
% Married: 38.0%
More on Pleasant Hill: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Independence, IA

Source: Wikipedia User | CC-BY-3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,106
Average Age: 41.3
% Married: 37.0%
More on Independence: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Norwalk, IA

Source: Flickr User Capncavedan | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 13,057
Average Age: 36.6
% Married: 43.0%
More on Norwalk: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Atlantic, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,770
Average Age: 44.2
% Married: 30.0%
More on Atlantic: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Eldridge, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Farragutful | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,693
Average Age: 39.7
% Married: 36.0%
More on Eldridge: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Iowa Falls, IA

Source: Wikipedia User Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,095
Average Age: 42.0
% Married: 40.0%
More on Iowa Falls: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Oelwein, IA

Source: Flickr User JCHaywire | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,934
Average Age: 44.2
% Married: 32.0%
More on Oelwein: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Methodology: How we determined the boring cities in the Hawkeye State

You would present the following case to your friends if you were argueing with them at a bar about the most boring place to live in Iowa. And that’s why we call it Saturday Night Science.

Because our data speaks more truth than feelings.

To figure out how boring a place is, we factored in things we generally think make people exciting, and then we figure out which cities have the least number of those exciting people.

We used the U.S. American Community Census data to gather the information presented here. HSome of the things people tend to think of as making a city’s population boring include:

  • % of Population Over 25 (higher is more boring)
  • % of Married Household (higher is more boring)
  • Average Age (higher is more boring)
  • % of Households With Kids (higher is more boring)
  • Population density (lower is more boring)

Then, our algorithm generates a ranking for each place in these categories. After crunching the numbers, all of the cities ranked from most boring to most exciting.

For this ranking, we used every Iowa city with at least 5,000 residents. This keeps us from prejudicing our rankings by including very small pockets of retired people.

Grab your rocker and hold on.

We updated this article for 2023, and it’s our tenth time ranking the most boring cities in Iowa.

There You Have It – Now That You’re Asleep

On a ranking like this, there are usually no winners, but since Iowa isn’t necessarily the most boring state in the United States, the cities on this ranking can at least take solace that there are, in fact, more boring cities in the country.

If you’re also curious enough, here are the most exciting places in Iowa, according to science:

  1. Ames
  2. Storm Lake
  3. Cedar Falls

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Boring Cities In Iowa For 2023

Rank City Population Average Age % Married % Kids
1 Cherokee, IA 5,154 45.2 38.0% 26.3%
2 Clear Lake, IA 7,642 50.4 38.0% 20.3%
3 Manchester, IA 5,112 49.9 52.0% 21.7%
4 Pleasant Hill, IA 10,456 40.5 38.0% 36.6%
5 Independence, IA 6,106 41.3 37.0% 27.8%
6 Norwalk, IA 13,057 36.6 43.0% 37.1%
7 Atlantic, IA 6,770 44.2 30.0% 27.0%
8 Eldridge, IA 6,693 39.7 36.0% 46.7%
9 Iowa Falls, IA 5,095 42.0 40.0% 21.0%
10 Oelwein, IA 5,934 44.2 32.0% 27.4%
11 Le Mars, IA 10,549 39.3 39.0% 33.9%
12 Maquoketa, IA 6,123 40.8 36.0% 30.4%
13 Sheldon, IA 5,417 37.5 39.0% 29.9%
14 Clinton, IA 24,524 42.8 28.0% 23.8%
15 Adel, IA 6,090 36.5 47.0% 37.1%
16 Newton, IA 15,692 42.1 34.0% 28.3%
17 Fort Madison, IA 10,293 43.0 29.0% 25.1%
18 Nevada, IA 6,933 40.9 38.0% 26.5%
19 Algona, IA 5,443 43.6 33.0% 22.1%
20 Grimes, IA 15,402 35.2 36.0% 41.8%
21 Johnston, IA 23,856 37.0 35.0% 37.5%
22 Spencer, IA 11,351 41.4 32.0% 25.4%
23 Bondurant, IA 7,617 31.8 40.0% 55.7%
24 Knoxville, IA 7,523 40.8 38.0% 28.9%
25 Boone, IA 12,482 38.5 36.0% 29.6%
26 Marion, IA 41,401 39.2 40.0% 32.7%
27 Centerville, IA 5,393 45.4 26.0% 23.1%
28 Clarinda, IA 5,371 41.0 24.0% 25.7%
29 Windsor Heights, IA 5,200 41.5 35.0% 30.2%
30 Carroll, IA 10,270 43.7 37.0% 23.8%
31 Urbandale, IA 45,591 38.9 36.0% 36.9%
32 Osceola, IA 5,455 36.6 32.0% 32.8%
33 Red Oak, IA 5,563 39.3 32.0% 29.0%
34 Keokuk, IA 9,868 40.6 23.0% 29.1%
35 Waukee, IA 25,045 34.3 33.0% 42.3%
36 Asbury, IA 5,890 36.5 41.0% 45.7%
37 Anamosa, IA 5,493 42.0 19.0% 33.9%
38 Washington, IA 7,329 39.6 31.0% 28.5%
39 Altoona, IA 20,017 36.1 38.0% 35.0%
40 Burlington, IA 23,976 42.9 29.0% 26.6%
41 Winterset, IA 5,366 36.9 30.0% 31.8%
42 Spirit Lake, IA 5,409 40.1 28.0% 24.2%
43 Fairfield, IA 9,474 43.0 14.0% 24.1%
44 Clive, IA 18,576 37.6 33.0% 34.2%
45 Sergeant Bluff, IA 5,007 35.0 43.0% 47.6%
46 Waverly, IA 10,399 33.5 37.0% 29.2%
47 Bettendorf, IA 38,997 39.2 25.0% 35.2%
48 Mount Pleasant, IA 9,214 36.5 27.0% 28.1%
49 Estherville, IA 5,881 40.2 25.0% 21.3%
50 Waterloo, IA 67,256 36.7 27.0% 27.6%
51 Ankeny, IA 68,392 33.3 37.0% 35.6%
52 Muscatine, IA 23,671 35.9 26.0% 36.6%
53 Sioux Center, IA 8,227 31.3 32.0% 36.7%
54 Glenwood, IA 5,128 43.8 18.0% 20.0%
55 Indianola, IA 15,845 34.7 32.0% 34.1%
56 Ottumwa, IA 25,359 36.7 26.0% 34.2%
57 Pella, IA 10,556 35.5 34.0% 29.3%
58 Oskaloosa, IA 11,492 36.5 31.0% 30.5%
59 West Des Moines, IA 68,744 36.2 25.0% 26.1%
60 Creston, IA 7,519 38.7 28.0% 26.2%
61 Marshalltown, IA 27,511 35.5 23.0% 36.7%
62 Council Bluffs, IA 62,670 38.4 21.0% 27.3%
63 Cedar Rapids, IA 136,929 37.0 28.0% 27.6%
64 Perry, IA 7,875 40.2 20.0% 28.2%
65 Denison, IA 8,316 33.7 17.0% 43.8%
66 North Liberty, IA 20,393 31.9 28.0% 39.7%
67 Davenport, IA 101,448 37.4 23.0% 25.9%
68 Dubuque, IA 59,315 37.9 30.0% 23.8%
69 Hiawatha, IA 7,179 34.1 30.0% 29.3%
70 Fort Dodge, IA 24,850 37.2 24.0% 24.4%
71 Coralville, IA 22,494 32.6 18.0% 27.2%
72 Des Moines, IA 213,164 34.4 21.0% 29.6%
73 Decorah, IA 7,611 34.8 24.0% 20.3%
74 Grinnell, IA 9,511 39.1 22.0% 23.0%
75 Cedar Falls, IA 40,686 28.0 27.0% 23.0%
76 Storm Lake, IA 11,194 31.0 17.0% 29.1%
77 Ames, IA 66,265 23.0 13.0% 16.1%
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.

33 thoughts on “The 10 Most Boring Places In Iowa For 2023

  1. Obviously you idiots that did the survey have never been to any of theses towns. Maybe you should get off your asses and your computers, move out of your mom’s basement and travel! Get a life!

  2. Apparently you are neither old, married, or have young children. Using the criteria above, you must be young, living the single life, not believing in marriage, and childless. You probably were born out of wedlock and a slow pace of life resulting in less stress and heart ailments is just up your alley! I would love to know if Sam Sparkes has ever visited Iowa or any of these “boring” cities on his list.

  3. Yes, Atlantic Iowa should get a zoo, an amusement park, perhaps a racetrack and all the other things that a town of 7,000 couldn’t support so that it can go bankrupt! That would make sense. Then we could be on the poorest city list too! Perhaps we could host the Olympics some year!

  4. What Moron Conducted this Poll???? Did you Even GO to Clear Lake??? Wow…Save the Ink on your Next Letter 2 the Editor You STINK

  5. I’m from Oklahoma but my daughter-in-law is from Iowa. I love her and her family. I have never met an unfriendly Iowan and thanks for the corn Iowa.

    1. How many actual Iowans have you met? I’ve lived here for several years, & can safely say that the rudest people I’ve ever met are from Iowa. People always talk about how rude folks from the northeast are, well, I’ve known several of them as well, & to a one, they were far nicer than people from Iowa.

      1. You obviously haven’t lived in any other places than the Midwest or your ass would already have been beat in a big city. You are lucky to have been born an Iowan…

  6. Apparently the author doesn’t care about animals or science, either, given the slam on the universities. Iowa State (Ames) is pretty much universally acknowledged as the world capital of veterinary medicine. Not to mention Van Allen (astronomy, maybe the author doesn’t know that word).

  7. What a decieved person been in lot states and countrys life is what you make it until you give your life to Jesus. then everyday becomes more exciting Old or young God has a plan for you . IF citys towns are boring for you try Jesus. Iam never bored Life is exciting Think what us believers have to look forward to in the next life . you can call him anytime.Hestands at the door and knocks the door of your heart . HAVE YOU EVER KNOCKED ON A DOOR GOING OUT THATS THE POINT HES OUTSIDE!!!!

    1. Perhaps you can work on your grammar, syntax & overall ability to communicate before trying to proselytize to people here. If your message is illegible then nobody is going to pay attention to it. Of course most intelligent people won’t pay attention to religious ravings & rantings anyway.

  8. Next time you decide to write a crap article about something you clearly know nothing about, do some real research. Better yet don’t write trash like this at all. Yes we all have a right to freak out about this, sorry your disclaimer was also as useless as this article. Start doing something worthwhile because you do stink.

  9. Newton is on the list? Sounds like somebody has never been to the Iowa Speedway! To those commenting, the author has never been to these towns, only ranked them by using government figures.. Clearly the government knows nothing about these towns!

  10. As for complex computer algorithms — garbage in, garbage out — not to mention faulty interpretation of the results.

    First of all, there are a lot of places in Iowa as boring or more boring than listed here. Second, every state in the nation has places like this. Third, the overpriced yuppie city of Johnston is a suburb of Des Moines; so, I’m not sure, given the broader landscape, how this classifies as a boring place. If Johnston is boring, then surely Grimes, right next door to Johnston, would be even more boring.

    However, I do agree with the comment on Johnston having boring Facebook baby photos. But we must remember, that this is a FB psychological disease, which has swept the entire nation. For some reason, modern parents (especially women) think everyone wants to, relentlessly and continuously, see pictures of their babies; especially since their babies are obviously better than everyone else’s babies. This narcissistic phenomenon is nothing more than one big psychological circle jerk, which is definitely not limited to Johnston, IA.

    The bottom line is that this article was probably written by some young inexperienced punk, who is trying be cute and to make a name for himself on the internet. I just hope that when he has children, he doesn’t BORE us with their fat little faces on Facebook.

  11. I have the unfortunate position of living in Clinton, Iowa my entire 55 years on the planet! It is without hesitation that I must point out that your article is wrong!!! ClintonClinton at the very least should have ranked number 2, and I personally believe it is number 1, or at least gives #1 a run for the most boring city, not just in Iowa, but the nation! It is also run by idiots that tax the Hell out of everything they can! The city charges more for sewer to carry away water than the water company charges for the water and bringing it to your house under pressure! The same city officials have built all new schools, want to build a new library and police station, bought all new garbage trucks, bought and implemented new management and billing systems for the garbage pick up and sewer billing at huge costs to the taxpayer here! By the way the new systems either didn’t work and were abandoned or screwed up so bad that sewer bills to residents got to be upwards of $1,000 before residents received a bill! We are now getting buried in city debt! Our fire chief came to the city for a fire boat with a price tag of over $700,000! The council, finally said no to spending so he got the money from businesses! Clinton has never needed a fireboat, but now we house, maintain and train our fire department on an unneeded toy! If you really want to get us started write about terrible city managements!

    1. My question for you Jon is why are you still living there after 55 years if you are truly that miserable. You are making yourself and those around you even more miserable than you already are. I feel sorry for you just after reading that ridiculous post. Move on or ship out.

  12. If these are the 10 most boring, you obviously haven’t visited much of the Midwest. That’s okay though, we don’t want a bunch of snooty bitches here.

  13. Most boring article I have ever read. Most boring writer I have ever read. Stupidest article I have ever read. How were “qualifying” cities even determined? In Iowa every incorporated town is legally a city, therefore, qualifying for inclusion. The writer clearly showed he had absolutely no knowledge of his subject. It wasn’t worth reading. It was not factual, nor was it “tongue in cheek” poking fun at Iowa. To quote a Raygun t-shirt, “IOWA – 75% vowels, 100% Awesome.” (Actually, Ohio is 75% vowels, but since the vowels are A, E, I, O, U and sometimes W and Y, Iowa is more than 75% vowels,)

  14. Um, what about the Newton speedway? I think NASCAR races make the city a bit more exciting. (Even if they do just turn left for hours on end.). And the population density is complete baloney. Given that at least 1/3 of the land within Clinton’s official city limits is farmland, the “population density” is very misleading. I’m willing to bet that Clear Lake is in a similar situation. And you want an even more German sounding town than Bettendorf? How about Guttenburg (GUH-tin-buhrg) or Luxemburg? Maybe Fredericksburg? This article is probably the stupidest thing I have read all day. Whoever wrote this must be a boring person, since they’re so closed minded and biased. And whatever so-called “research” that was done for this article wouldn’t even be sufficient enough to write an acceptable elementary school quality research paper. I was expecting an article that was, at the least, unbiased and based on research that was actually thoroughly conducted. Instead I got something that looks to be written by a crabby middle schooler with nonexistent work ethic. Needless to say, I’m very disappointed.

  15. All but 5 years of my life have been spent in Iowa(the other in Kansas City) and yes Iowa can be boring at times, but I live closest to Clear Lake and it’s far from boring. Had you actually visited some of these towns vs using an algorithm to base your research, maybe you would have some actual evidence to support this ridiculous article.

  16. Unfortunately I live in Iowa & I can’t think of a single place here that isn’t boring as hell. There could easily be a Top 100 list on this. This is the worst state I’ve even been in, let alone lived in.

    Do you know why it’s always so damned windy here? Because Iowa blows.

  17. I normally do not post anything on these types of “pointless” posts. However, this one hits close to the heart. After growing up and graduating from Webster City, then moving to Seattle, WA and then Mpls, MN for over a span of 11 years and back to Iowa, I feel that I can give it to you straight from the heart. I left WC for the “big city” and guess where I decided to bring my 3 kids back to grow up at? Webster City, Iowa… You can bash the town all you want, but it has roots that run deeper than only the people that grew up here know. It is home. It is God’s Country. Coming from a born and raised girl to big city back to “home”. This article only makes me laugh, as it should the true people of small town home grown Iowa towns. I would rather be back here than with a large group of people whom refuse to bathe, vaccinate, and over populate. Go Hawkeyes!!

  18. Having grown up in Iowa, I agree that there is a paucity of diverse experiences available in most Iowa towns. Also, when you meet people the conversation is usually pretty damn predictable, not a whole lot of imagination behind much of what’s said. Obviously there’s exceptions, Iowa city is a pretty lively place. I think the boringness of many small towns is the leading cause for drug problems. People turn these unhealthy, stupid thrills because they can’t find anything else interesting to do. But having traveled the world and having lived in NYC for the last 35 years (definitely not a boring place), I nominate Osage, Iowa as the most boring place I’ve ever been. Let’s all make an effort to have an original thought today, and communicate it in an interesting way. Cheers!

  19. Hi,
    I have nothing against people from Iowa except that they have no culture. I was born in Brooklyn, New York; there I was exposed to the Metropolitan Opera, the more than one hundred theaters, people who came from all over the planet and spoke numerous languages, museums on every corner, the Yankees and the Mets, walking (not driving) to do my shopping at stores where I actually knew the owners almost personally, bridges and buildings all lit up at night as if they were Christmas trees, and people who knew about Shakespeare, Milton, Philosophy, Poetry, great composers (Leonard Bernstein) and opera singers (Pavarotti). The list is endless. When I lived in New York, my life was anything but boring. Also, no one in New York owns a car because New York has over four hundred and fifty miles of subway, plus numerous bus lines. Also, every house in my neighborhood had what was known as a stoop . . . a series of steps leading up to the front door, where all anyone had to do was sit down on the side of the stoop and within a matter of minutes people would gather around. Plus, there were numerous restaurants which were family owned and which served food from all over the world, from Nigeria to Spain to Norway (yes, Norway), not to mention the best pizza in the world. Want romance? There is a small park in Brooklyn right next to the Brooklyn Bridge where you can see all of Manhattan.

    Whenever my wife’s relatives come over (We live in Tucson, Arizona) there are only two safe topics; the weather and sports. Oh, I forgot the conversation about relatives and friends they have not seen since childhood. Whatever you do, do not mention politics or religion!

    One last complaint about Iowa. The weather sucks. It’s not just cold, but brutally cold. Nome, Alaska is warmer than Iowa. Also, why is it that every town, no matter how small, has a bar with no windows, just think bricks made of glass, to let in the light. As soon as one enters any bar in Iowa, there is only one thing to do . . . drink. It’s the only way to make it through the winters.
    Other than that, it’s not that bad of a place to live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *