Located in the American Heartland between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, Iowa has some of the best lifestyle amenities of any state in the US. From an affordable cost of living in most cities, quality healthcare, great school districts and higher educational institutions plus more, Iowa is perfect for millennials and retirees alike to call home.
- Iowa winters can be harsh with sub-zero temperatures, lots of snow, icy roads and high winds. If you must move between November and March, be sure to make proper arrangements.
- Iowa summer can be dangerously hot and humid, especially July and August. If you choose to move to Iowa in the summer, try to plan your move time to early mornings and late evenings and drink plenty of water.
- Many of the larger cities and towns in Iowa contain college campuses. Late spring is the best time to find a rental property in an Iowa college town since students tend to grab them up at the end of summer and beginning of fall.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Iowa easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
While agriculture is very much a part of the Iowa economy and culture, more than half of Iowans live in urban areas. Most of Iowans are self-proclaimed foodies and Iowa is home to some pretty cool foodie hangouts that are a real treat! The Ladora Bank Bistro in the City of Ladora is well-known for its craft beer and delicious, eclectic fare. If you can’t get enough of craft beer, be sure to visit Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. in Decorah.
The state’s capital, Des Moines, is the state’s most populous city and is best known for being home to many of the state’s high school sports championship tournaments and is the starting line for the United States’ presidential elections every four years. Cedar Rapids serves as a cultural and entertainment hub for the state. With a growing employment rate, Davenport was named the most affordable metropolitan area by Forbes in 2010.
Dubuque is one of the most beautiful cities in Iowa and is a popular destination for Iowans and other Midwestern tourists. If you look around, you are sure to find a city in Iowa that meet’s your family’s needs!
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Iowa is significantly lower than the national average, about 12 percent lower overall. Although specific costs will vary by city, practically everything will be cheaper in Iowa. Affordable housing prices are a major factor in the low cost of living in Iowa.
Home prices in Iowa have appreciated 61.4% lower than the national level from last year. Looking back three years at the median price in Oct 2019 compared to Oct 2022, prices have increased 17.1% in Iowa VS 35.8% nationwide. As of Oct 2022, the median price for a home in the state was $218,400, which is up 1.5% above last year’s median price. Comparing prices over the last three years, we can see they have decreased -11.6% from the peak of $247,000 in June 2022. Homes in small towns will usually be less expensive than housing in urban areas, and houses in the country can be even less expensive.
You’ll be welcomed by four seasons when moving to Iowa. Iowa gets approximately 35 inches of rain per year and averages 30 inches of snow per year. On average, there are 200 sunny days per year in Iowa, compare to the US average of 205.
Winter: Winters tend to be harsh as the state endures frigid temperatures and snow from late November to early March.
Spring: March to June enjoys mild temperatures and the beginning of tornado season.
Summer: The heat and humidity make this season feel even hotter than the thermometer reports. Severe weather in past years has led to damaging floods and tornados.
Autumn: Perhaps the most pleasant season, fall in Iowa is generally dry and mild.
Iowa has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country and consistently ranks top in the nation for SAT and ACT test scores. However, Iowa ranks among the lowest in the nation for teacher pay. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Iowa.
Iowa is home to several colleges and universities, including three public universities:
- Iowa State University
- University of Iowa
- University of Northern Iowa
There is more to moving to Iowa than packing and unpacking boxes. You’ll need to notify various government agencies of your move and update your license. Here’s a few links to help you get started.
- For an Iowa government overview and information on moving to Iowa, legal requirements and helpful links, visit Iowa.gov.
- Find your local United States Post Office online.
- For tax information visit IRS.gov.
- Register to vote by mailing in a voter registration from the Iowa Voter Registration website.
- Update your driver’s license and vehicle registration.