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Old 07-03-2016, 04:20 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,796 times
Reputation: 11

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Hello! I'm currently thinking of moving to somewhere in the US and Iowa is a strong contender on my list. I'm looking for recommendations of "big" cities and surrounding areas to move to. Here are some details to provide insight on what I'm looking for:

My husband and I are in our 20s. He's Puerto Rican and I'm black. We currently live in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I'm a preschool teacher and he has an interest in software development and would like to go to school for it. Since I'm a preschool teacher, I'd like to live near a bigger city with a lot of child care centers for more opportunities. I'd rather work at a more pricey center where the quality of care and teaching is high. Right now I'm making $11 an hour and my husband makes around the same to a little more at a call center (different pay check every week because of bonuses). He would need to be able to find a decent paying job for us to be able to live in a 2 bedroom apartment (we plan on having a child in the near future). We would need to live near a college or university that he can attend to go to school for software development. A campus with online classes would be an alternative too. Speaking of, is there a good market for tech related jobs?

Since we're minorities, we'd like to live in areas where we'd feel comfortable living among mostly white people. I've read that the cost of living is great in Iowa and looked into apartment rates and they seem decent. I saw a few listings for 2 bedrooms under $600 a month although I'm unsure of the quality of the apartments and of the area it's in. We'd be open to buying a home and hope that it's about as affordable as an apartment. We're open to smaller cities/towns within a half hour to larger cities.

Iowa seems like a decent place to live and lots of choices. I'm open to general city recommendations and I'll look more into it myself!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Northern United States
187 posts, read 176,393 times
Reputation: 269
Hi, I think you will be surprised by Iowa, Des Moines would probably be your best fit. Des Moines has a growing tech industry and has been rated as one of the top ten fastest growing tech cities or something like that, I don't remember exactly. Des Moines has a lot of minorities and the school district is less than half white and the demograpics are changing extremely fast. I am sure you will fit in. Des Moines is one of the best mid-sized cities in the USA and it is also affordable.

A issue though, is the police in Iowa are more racist statistically. Iowa has some of the worst black disparities in the nation, arrest rates and economically. Also Dubuque has a lot of race issues for a city that is like 90% white, they just had a cross burning a couple of months ago. Des Moines has low rates of segregation so you won't be looked at weird if you move into a neighborhood of a race other than your own. Maybe a couple of people may look at it weird, I don't know though. I think this will probably be the best response your gonna get.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, AZ
560 posts, read 545,970 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northeasterner1970 View Post
I think this will probably be the best response your gonna get.
Wow! Maybe I shouldn't even try then! Oh, what the heck... Here goes!

You might want to look at the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City area as well. They call this the technology corridor because both cities are working together to bring in more tech companies. IC has the University of Iowa for educational opportunities (although not sure if they have a sw eng program) and CR has several companies that are always looking for software engineers - the largest being Rockwell Collins which has great pay and benefits.

CR also has Kirkwood College which is a 2 year school, but they do partner with Iowa State to provide 4 year degrees in several fields (I'm guessing sw eng. would be one of them, but you would have to check) via remote link on campus. This would allow your husband to potentially get a 4 year degree entirely at Kirkwood. I think you will find housing costs in CR to be slightly less than Des Moines also.

It is very doubtful you would have any racial issues in IC or CR. People are very accepting as long as you behave and do not cause trouble. That is regardless of color. Smaller towns could be a little less accepting, I guess it depends on the town.

I think this will probably be the second best response your (sic) gonna (sic) get!
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:14 AM
 
Location: Northern United States
187 posts, read 176,393 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey59 View Post
Wow! Maybe I shouldn't even try then! Oh, what the heck... Here goes!

You might want to look at the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City area as well. They call this the technology corridor because both cities are working together to bring in more tech companies. IC has the University of Iowa for educational opportunities (although not sure if they have a sw eng program) and CR has several companies that are always looking for software engineers - the largest being Rockwell Collins which has great pay and benefits.

CR also has Kirkwood College which is a 2 year school, but they do partner with Iowa State to provide 4 year degrees in several fields (I'm guessing sw eng. would be one of them, but you would have to check) via remote link on campus. This would allow your husband to potentially get a 4 year degree entirely at Kirkwood. I think you will find housing costs in CR to be slightly less than Des Moines also.

It is very doubtful you would have any racial issues in IC or CR. People are very accepting as long as you behave and do not cause trouble. That is regardless of color. Smaller towns could be a little less accepting, I guess it depends on the town.

I think this will probably be the second best response your (sic) gonna (sic) get!
Sorry, It's just that I don't expect very much from city data forums sometimes.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:01 AM
 
49 posts, read 43,026 times
Reputation: 43
I agree that Des Moines and Cedar Rapids/Iowa City (they're only about 20 minutes apart) would be the areas to look at. Here are a few things to consider.

Iowa living is not as cheap as people think. You get more for your money than on the coasts or in the middle of a metropolis, but it's not really any cheaper than the rest of the Midwest. I actually found i got a lot more house for my money in minnesota and had to spend significantly more to get a comparable house here.

The cities are normal medium sized cities with normal medium sized city problems. A lot of people who haven't spent much time here picture all of iowa as relaxed and rural. Our cities have gangs and drug problems like any other.

The outdoor lifestyle is severely lacking here. For many people this is the biggest shock. Iowa has tons of wide open spaces sure but it's mostly privately owned farmland so unless you personally own some you can't do anything there. Public land, lakes, rivers etc are low in quantity and quality compared to almost anywhere.

The job market is very field dependent. Some job markets here are in really good shape. Others such as education and mental health were victims of recent budget cuts and not looking too good.

If you haven't lived in the Midwest before make sure you understand the weather. You will experience all 4 seasons here in a big way. I personally enjoy thst but many people dont.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:02 AM
 
387 posts, read 541,878 times
Reputation: 471
There are absolutely no racist people in Des Moines at all. Everyone votes for the Democrats, are vegetarians, and they all drive hybrid vehicles.

Also, if you move to Des Moines, you will never die from a terminal illness of any kind.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:41 AM
 
221 posts, read 259,941 times
Reputation: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitae View Post
I agree that Des Moines and Cedar Rapids/Iowa City (they're only about 20 minutes apart) would be the areas to look at. Here are a few things to consider.

Iowa living is not as cheap as people think. You get more for your money than on the coasts or in the middle of a metropolis, but it's not really any cheaper than the rest of the Midwest. I actually found i got a lot more house for my money in minnesota and had to spend significantly more to get a comparable house here.

The cities are normal medium sized cities with normal medium sized city problems. A lot of people who haven't spent much time here picture all of iowa as relaxed and rural. Our cities have gangs and drug problems like any other.

The outdoor lifestyle is severely lacking here. For many people this is the biggest shock. Iowa has tons of wide open spaces sure but it's mostly privately owned farmland so unless you personally own some you can't do anything there. Public land, lakes, rivers etc are low in quantity and quality compared to almost anywhere.

The job market is very field dependent. Some job markets here are in really good shape. Others such as education and mental health were victims of recent budget cuts and not looking too good.

If you haven't lived in the Midwest before make sure you understand the weather. You will experience all 4 seasons here in a big way. I personally enjoy thst but many people dont.
I think this is a really good post.

I don't think most people will even realize there are gangs and drugs here I Des Moines though. It is much safer than the places alot of people will relocate from. Only city I've felt safe in while driving down MLK. Also most people will move to Des Moines for economic reasons. They aren't coming here to live in a trashy apartment near Drake. If you are a professional you are going to be living in WDM, Waukee, or Ankeny most likely. There are other nice places surrounding Des Moines too.

You won't figure out how to enjoy the outdoors until you've lived here for a while. You are 100% right about the shock of limited outdoorsy stuff. This is especially true of the Des Moines metro. If you are not willing to take a 3 hour trip on a Saturday to check out the best Iowa has to offer in that department then you won't see much. If you are into nature Cedar Rapids/IC is a better fit cause all of the best stuff is in East IA. We have Ledges State Park in Central IA, but Eastern part of the state (especially NE) is as good as it gets. I will say though that IA is an extremely fun state to explore. There are all kinds of unheard of little parks and other spots out in the middle of nowhere that you will come across that are really great. Most people in Iowa aren't to adventurous either, so you will have it all to yourself. Also IA is a very safe place to go camping or head into the wilderness. Biggest concern is probably poison ivy. Not a whole lot than can kill you here compared to other states.

Last edited by Juice Malone; 07-04-2016 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:41 AM
 
49 posts, read 43,026 times
Reputation: 43
Safe in terms of wildlife and stuff yes, but some of the bigger public parks seem to have attracted a lot of not so good activities. Last year there was a wanted murderer living in palisades for a while, and the police had to repeatedly come to the hawkeye wildlife area (biggest public hunting area near CR/IC) to shut down what apparently were orgies (virtually everyone there was repeatedly cited for indecent exposure so I have to assume that's what was going on). Iowa doesn't take great care of the relatively limited nature areas it has either, be prepared to constantly hear about fish kills and poison runoff and poor quality water in the few areas worth going to.
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Iowa, USA
338 posts, read 265,118 times
Reputation: 423
Why do you want to leave Indianapolis? What are you hoping will be different in IA?
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,641,554 times
Reputation: 9679
Quote:
Originally Posted by scatteredthunder View Post
Why do you want to leave Indianapolis? What are you hoping will be different in IA?
It will be a little sunnier here in the winter, and there's less chance of a massive earthquake: when the New Madrid cuts loose, it'll probably also do a number on the Wabash (sp?) fault in IN.

OP, check out Iowa State in Ames -- it has the reputation of a stronger IT program (and tech in general) than U of I, which is mostly regarded producing top medical workers (docs, dentists, PTs, etc) locally.

I don't have time to find the article, but Des Moines is supposed to add 1,000 new IT jobs next year.

I live in the Des Moines metro and have for three years. There are bike trails and places to hike and bird watch. You don't have to drive three hours to enjoy nature, more like ten to fifteen minutes, depending on where you live. I see hawks and herons on my daily commute to work.

But boots on the ground! Drive on over for a long weekend and look around for yourself. You'll see cool things that matter to you that a bunch of people on a forum would never think to tell you about.
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