In remaining ways Des Moines is viewed as an award winning city and national leader. In 2016 Forbes ranks Des Moines as the #1 city in the nation for business and careers and #1 place to raise a family. Additional 2016 rankings include:

  • #5 Best place where millennials are buying houses
  • #1 Best city for the middle class
  • #2 Best affordable place to live in the U.S.


However, like many cities, there is more work to do as the urban core has been left behind. Challenges in the urban core community include crime, unemployment, lower income levels and high poverty rates.

  • 3rd worst city in the U.S. for African Americans
  • High unemployment rate at 3X the State’s average for African American and 2X for Hispanic
  • African Americans median income is 50% of white households in 2014
  • High school drop rates for multi-racial, Hispanic and African Americans is 2X that of white students


The Des Moines urban core experiences:

  • High rate of fatherless homes
  • Low rate of high school graduation
  • Low rate of financial literacy
  • High rate of crime and incarceration
  • High rate of poverty
  • Increasing immigrant/refugee population
  • High transient rate – 50% move every 2 years
  • Limited access to transportation