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Old 08-21-2015, 10:46 AM
 
Location: In the hot spot!
3,277 posts, read 4,414,812 times
Reputation: 2987

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Ok, I know the title comes off somewhat sarcastic, but that is not the intent at all. I have some friends who recently relocated to Iowa and they RAVE about how much they love it and how much better life is there. I realize it's somewhat subjective, but they have been sending me beautiful pictures of their family having tons of fun.

Here is the kicker; they are pushing hard for me and my family to move there as well. I gave no indication I was even remotely interested in living there (no offense to Iowans, it was just never on my radar). I am not interested in moving there, but am interested in visiting to see what all the fuss is about. They live in a place called LaPorte, I believe.

My question is this: when I do visit which city should I make sure to spend time in the get a feel for Iowa? Not for relocation, just as a tourist. Des Moines? Iowa City?
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,543,028 times
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Short on time, but will throw out that it seems you are mixing two different outcomes here.

1) what is a great state to live
2) what is a great state to be a tourist/vacation

I'm not sure how one relates to the other. They might, but they might not. I would personally put Iowa high on list of places to live however, I can think of many others I'd put ahead of it for states I'd want to vacation.
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:00 PM
 
Location: In the hot spot!
3,277 posts, read 4,414,812 times
Reputation: 2987
Thanks capitalguy! I see you are in Des Moines? Why do you put it high on a list of places to live? Economy? Lifestyle? Weather? Schools?
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
2,956 posts, read 4,372,183 times
Reputation: 4888
Quote:
Originally Posted by capitalcityguy View Post
Short on time, but will throw out that it seems you are mixing two different outcomes here.

1) what is a great state to live
2) what is a great state to be a tourist/vacation

I'm not sure how one relates to the other. They might, but they might not. I would personally put Iowa high on list of places to live however, I can think of many others I'd put ahead of it for states I'd want to vacation.
Good evaluation.

Great places to visit in Iowa might be as an example, the Mississippi River valley down the eastern border. However, places like Keokuk, Fort Madison, or even the Quad Cities might not be the most ideal places to put down roots. Same might be said for some areas on the far western edge of the state.

LaPorte City is actually a pretty good location for being close to metro (Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids), but still being a small town where you can become part of the community. It's also a somewhat reasonable driving distance from there to Chicago if you feel the need to do things in a huge city.

Some ideas on what the OP is looking for as to a permanent home might be needed to get some good suggestions.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:52 AM
 
47 posts, read 53,593 times
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Iowa is a great family state with hard working folks but a limited economy tied directly to agr. People are generally very restrained and laid back. Mostly unsophiscated but progressive with heavy German- Scandinavian influence. Income levels are moderate.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,543,028 times
Reputation: 1433
Quote:
Originally Posted by goolsbyjazz View Post
Thanks capitalguy! I see you are in Des Moines? Why do you put it high on a list of places to live? Economy? Lifestyle? Weather? Schools?

Economy, Lifestyle, Midwestern values, schools.

Weather? Probably not near the top of the list of reasons, but I don't mind it.

Here is list of recent accolades Des Moines (and suburbs) have received from 3rd parties so far in 2015...



Des Moines #7 on Entrepreneur's 25 Cities Worth Moving to If You Want to Launch a Business (August 20, Entrepreneur.com)
Des Moines Named in The 10 Most Underrated Cities For Millennials (August 17, MatadorNetwork.com)
Johnston and Waukee Ranked on Money's Top 50 Best Places to Live 2015 (August 16, Time.com/Money)
Des Moines Ranked #6 on 10 Cities Where Craft Beer is Taking Off (August 3, TheStreet.com)
Iowa State Fair Named #4 on The 20 Best State Fairs in America (July 22, VacationsMadeEasy.com)
Des Moines Named on Top 10 Cities for Creatives (July 7, Smartasset.com)
Waukee Ranked in Top 10 Best Towns for Familes: 2015 (July 7, FamilyCircle.com)
Des Moines-West Des Moines Rank #6 on 9 Best Up-and-Coming Towns for College Grads (June 18, CBSNews.com)
Des Moines Ranked #4 on 30 Best Tech Cities to Start a Career (June 8, ComputerTrainingSchools.com)
Des Moines Ranked #5 on 10 Best Cities for Retirement in America (June 8, Bankrate.com)
Clive Named A Top 100 Best Small Town, 2015 (June 1, Livability.com)
Des Moines Ranked The Fourth "Furriendliest" City In The PetSmart Charities May National Adoption Weekend (May 19, PetsMart)
Des Moines Art Center Named one of 19 Free Art Museums You Should Visit This Summer (May 19, Huffington Post)
Des Moines Ranks #4 for America's most Business-Friendly cities. #1 for Business Climate (May 18, Market Watch)
Buzzfeed Ranks Des Moines #11 of the 34 Underrated U.S. Cities You'll Actually Want To Move To (May 16, Buzzfeed)
Des Moines Ranked #6 Mid-sized Metro Area for College Graduates to move to for Employment (May 15, AIER)
Des Moines Leads U.S. Metro Areas in Community Pride (May 13, Gallup)
Gallup Poll lists Des Moines as Top Place Where Residents Feel Safe (May 4, Gallup)
Des Moines/ West Des Moines Ranked 11th Best Place to Start a Business in U.S. (May 1, Nerdwallet.com)
Des Moines Ranks 52nd-Best Place to Start a Business (April 28, WalletHub.com)
Des Moines Ranked #7 in the U.S. for Metro Area Budgeting (April 24, WalletHub.com)
Des Moines Among Top 10 U.S. Cities for New College Grads (April 10, SmartAsset.com)
Des Moines Named in Top 5 Emerging Start Up Cities of 2015 (March 25, Investopedia.com)
Iowa Ranks Sixth-Best for Retirement (March 24, Bankrate.com)
Greater Des Moines Ranked #4 for 2015 Economic Strength in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (March 23, POLICOM)
West Des Moines Named on list of Hippest Cities (March 18, FindTheHome.com)
Des Moines listed in the 50 Best Places to Live in America (March 18, Men's Journal)
Des Moines Recognized as Top Place to Watch for Sports (January 14, Sports Events Magazine)
Des Moines is the #2 Best City for Jobs (January 6, Forbes)

Des Moines Rankings | 2014 Rankings
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:37 AM
 
Location: MetroWest Boston
316 posts, read 270,085 times
Reputation: 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by goolsbyjazz View Post
Ok, I know the title comes off somewhat sarcastic, but that is not the intent at all. I have some friends who recently relocated to Iowa and they RAVE about how much they love it and how much better life is there. I realize it's somewhat subjective, but they have been sending me beautiful pictures of their family having tons of fun.

Here is the kicker; they are pushing hard for me and my family to move there as well. I gave no indication I was even remotely interested in living there (no offense to Iowans, it was just never on my radar). I am not interested in moving there, but am interested in visiting to see what all the fuss is about. They live in a place called LaPorte, I believe.

My question is this: when I do visit which city should I make sure to spend time in the get a feel for Iowa? Not for relocation, just as a tourist. Des Moines? Iowa City?
This is sort of an impossible question, because 'a better life' is so subjective. It would help if you provided some detail - such as what you look for in the 'ideal life'. Do you want urban, suburban, or rural? Does access to major cities matter to you? What type of work do you do? What do you value more, easy living at a low cost, or a faster pace with greater amenities/education/hospitals/tourism at a higher cost?

I guess it would be easier if you listed the things that intrigue you about what seems to make life 'better', and we can help you to compare/contrast these things to your current location and other potential options you may have.
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Old 08-28-2015, 07:03 AM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,702,524 times
Reputation: 5358
Gools, you'll need a list of what things you want in a city.

The economy in Iowa sucks outside of Des Moines. Outside of DM the unemployment is low but you have to be related or have some other appealing physical characteristics to be hired. There is a reason Iowa City constantly complains about the brain drain as the best and brightest students look for better opportunity elsewhere. If you opt to live within DM, then as Capital Guy says, the economy is good.

If you want good schools, Iowa seems fairly middle of the pack. It can be subjective as you have to decide what you want and how much you're willing to pay up in taxes to have it. The school may be "free", but the government gets more than one pound of flesh through the taxes.

Do you like "Midwestern Values"? For me, as a libertarian, they were incredibly oppressive.

It wasn't until I had been in Iowa for a few years that I realized it wasn't me, it was the area. I moved out of Iowa (to Colorado) and things immediately improved by leaps and bounds. Finding the right place is like finding the right shoe. You can wear a shoe that is the wrong size, but it won't work right. Some people will try to demand that you "make it fit" or that the problem is "you have a stupid foot". Get the right pair of shoes and the problem goes away. For some people, Iowa works. For many others, especially those with experience living in more advanced areas or working in something resembling a meritocracy, the area is sorely lacking. The weather is dreadful, pay outside of DM is terrible and cost of living outside DM is higher than it should be. The taxes are just absurdly high when property, income, and sales are combined.

When you think about shoes, Iowa is like the one pulled from a dumpster with something green growing on it and a large hole in the sole. You could try it on and hope it fits, but there are so many other options that have more to offer. When I told people I was leaving for Colorado, some of them actually had tears. It wasn't for losing me, they didn't know me that well. They simply cried softly and said things like, "I had a chance to get out once..."
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:07 AM
 
Location: MetroWest Boston
316 posts, read 270,085 times
Reputation: 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
Gools, you'll need a list of what things you want in a city.

The economy in Iowa sucks outside of Des Moines. Outside of DM the unemployment is low but you have to be related or have some other appealing physical characteristics to be hired. There is a reason Iowa City constantly complains about the brain drain as the best and brightest students look for better opportunity elsewhere. If you opt to live within DM, then as Capital Guy says, the economy is good.

If you want good schools, Iowa seems fairly middle of the pack. It can be subjective as you have to decide what you want and how much you're willing to pay up in taxes to have it. The school may be "free", but the government gets more than one pound of flesh through the taxes.

Do you like "Midwestern Values"? For me, as a libertarian, they were incredibly oppressive.

It wasn't until I had been in Iowa for a few years that I realized it wasn't me, it was the area. I moved out of Iowa (to Colorado) and things immediately improved by leaps and bounds. Finding the right place is like finding the right shoe. You can wear a shoe that is the wrong size, but it won't work right. Some people will try to demand that you "make it fit" or that the problem is "you have a stupid foot". Get the right pair of shoes and the problem goes away. For some people, Iowa works. For many others, especially those with experience living in more advanced areas or working in something resembling a meritocracy, the area is sorely lacking. The weather is dreadful, pay outside of DM is terrible and cost of living outside DM is higher than it should be. The taxes are just absurdly high when property, income, and sales are combined.

When you think about shoes, Iowa is like the one pulled from a dumpster with something green growing on it and a large hole in the sole. You could try it on and hope it fits, but there are so many other options that have more to offer. When I told people I was leaving for Colorado, some of them actually had tears. It wasn't for losing me, they didn't know me that well. They simply cried softly and said things like, "I had a chance to get out once..."
I agree with some of what you said - but Iowa being a 'dumpster shoe??!' Harsh!

The comparison between Iowa and places outside the Midwest is just...different, not necessairly good vs. bad persay. In my situation of raising a family, for example: I live in a large metro area. The pro's are having access to more culture and activity for my family, better education for my kids, better job opportunities for myself, etc. The downsides are - one works hard for this. You can make a lot of money where I'm at, and still find it difficult to impossible to afford a home you like in an area you want to live in with both parents working. Traffic and commuting can also take more time, and the level of jobs available command more of your intention, limiting the amount of quality 'home life' you can have. In Iowa, while the access to greater culture, education and job opportunities become more limited, you may have little to no commute and a much lower cost of living, making a lot more time available for quality 'home life'. In a small Iowa town I believe, had we secured jobs in our field, we could have both worked and paid off a home in 5-10 years, remaining young and owning a home outright.

The point is that I've come to the conclusion that one way isn't 'better' than another, just different. You have to align what you want from life for yourself and your family with the most suitable location to achieve that. This is why I must debate your shoe analogy, lol. It is perhaps more like a flip-flop vs. a leather loafer or something.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,168 posts, read 3,032,914 times
Reputation: 3375
Default Is Iowa life really that great?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobodybody View Post
I agree with some of what you said - but Iowa being a 'dumpster shoe??!' Harsh!

The comparison between Iowa and places outside the Midwest is just...different, not necessairly good vs. bad persay. In my situation of raising a family, for example: I live in a large metro area. The pro's are having access to more culture and activity for my family, better education for my kids, better job opportunities for myself, etc. The downsides are - one works hard for this. You can make a lot of money where I'm at, and still find it difficult to impossible to afford a home you like in an area you want to live in with both parents working. Traffic and commuting can also take more time, and the level of jobs available command more of your intention, limiting the amount of quality 'home life' you can have. In Iowa, while the access to greater culture, education and job opportunities become more limited, you may have little to no commute and a much lower cost of living, making a lot more time available for quality 'home life'. In a small Iowa town I believe, had we secured jobs in our field, we could have both worked and paid off a home in 5-10 years, remaining young and owning a home outright.

The point is that I've come to the conclusion that one way isn't 'better' than another, just different. You have to align what you want from life for yourself and your family with the most suitable location to achieve that. This is why I must debate your shoe analogy, lol. It is perhaps more like a flip-flop vs. a leather loafer or something.

For being new to the Iowa forum, I think that you have picked up a rather decent understanding of the state & how to express relating & comparing it to other regions of the country. It can take a bit of subtlety to be able to understand & then communicate that disparate apples & oranges differences don't often make for easy or absolute comparisons. As such, your recent response on this thread resonated well with me.
I value honesty in communication, abhor hyperbole & exaggeration & value a personality trait that accepts responsibility for what we have achieved or failed at by our own devices & efforts without fixing the blame elsewhere when we don't succeed.
Though I've been gone from Iowa for over 35 years, I could go on into a lengthy discussion of a number of things that the state does right & does wrong. But, I'll be brief by saying that the longer I am away from living in the state, the more I cherish it's basic ideals & the opportunities, when I do have them, to return to Iowa.
I found a map chart recently that says a lot about Iowa & it's basic underlying egalitarianism which has been widely misunderstood on this forum in the past & misrepresented by those who apparently failed to make an effort of any depth to study or learn anything more than a passing, non-substantive history of the state or to truly understand some of the more unsung fundamentals of it's economy or cultural mores.

Poverty USA | State and County Level Poverty Information
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