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Old 12-18-2008, 07:58 PM
 
10 posts, read 50,802 times
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Hey everyone,

My family is thinking about moving to Iowa because the financial crisis the country is currently in has really hit Las Vegas hard. We have so many people losing jobs, their houses, can't find jobs, and my college is facing so many budget cuts. It's insane. My mom said she heard that Iowa is a great place to live for low-income families and all that jazz. Is there any assistance you can get if you move there?

So I wanted to know how Iowa was handing the current financial crisis. Would it be a good idea to move there? Is it expensive?

I'm a college student, so I want to live somewhere that is diverse and has a good college. Ames and Iowa City seem to have the colleges with my major. Can anyone tell me which school and city is better?
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,136,759 times
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Well, Iowa City is weathering the storm pretty well, because its primary industries are education and health care. However, there is a car parts manufacturer on the east side that is undergoing serious layoffs, and other manufacturers are probably suffering the same way manufacturers across the country are. I can't speak for the rest of Iowa, but I'd imagine that it's not a ton different than the rest of the country. The only difference I see is that we don't seem to have many foreclosures, as I am sure you have over in Las Vegas, but I am far from being an expert on this situation.

About colleges: it depends on your major as to which college is better. Iowa and Iowa State are pretty much equals, academically, but each has their own specialties. Iowa is world renowned for its Creative Writing program, and I've heard Iowa State has better engineering.

I live around Iowa City and I think it's a great place to live. It is diverse (for Iowa, anyway) and the downtown is very suited to college students. It is a bit of a party school (I believe Iowa is 12th on the party schools list this year?) and there is a lot of drinking, which may interest you or not. There are concerts pretty often (for Iowa), some art galleries, restaurants, and movie theaters around, as well as quite a few chain stores over here in Coralville. I've heard Cambus is pretty good and can get you where you need to go fairly easily if you're interested in that.

One disadvantage is that the Iowa City area is definitely not the cheapest in the state for housing costs, rent can be high by Iowa standards in the downtown area near campus. However, compared to Las Vegas, it probably isn't all that bad. I just used this cost of living calculator: Cost of living: Compare prices in two cities - CNNMoney.com and found that housing costs 28% less here. I'd check craigslist and the Iowa City Press-Citizen website for ads, you can get an idea of what's out there.

Ames is nice too, I just don't know as much about it. If I was going to choose between the two, I'd pick Iowa City, but Ames would be a fine place to live if Iowa State was more suited for your major. And it's a little cheaper.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,340 posts, read 8,962,422 times
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Most of the Western Midwest/Plains have good economies right now, sure they are growing through some difficulty but not much and most companies are still hiring, or at least here In Omaha but Nebraska and Iowa are pretty much twin states so I assume its the same over there.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Iowa
22 posts, read 56,433 times
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The economy is slowing in Dubuque. If you look at the boom/bust cycle and compare it with Las Vegas, then Dubuque looks pretty good. It didn't boom like Vegas so it won't bust as bad either. Excess liquidity is going to get shaken out of every community as this economy worsens.

What do you mean by "assistance"? If you're skills are in high demand then a prospective employer may offer a relocation allowance as part of the deal.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:30 AM
 
5 posts, read 58,695 times
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Red face Iowa is a nice place to live--pros and cons like any area

We moved to the Des Moines area of Iowa in August 2007 (a year ago) from Northern Virginia (just outside Washington DC). The economy here is very diverse and seems strong, although the economic slowdown is having an impact. I think Iowa is in much better shape than many other areas of the country.

As far as education, the public schools here are not anywhere as good as they were in NoVa, but that area has some of the best schools in the nation. The schools here are far behind the times, and each little city has its own school system. The high schools are much more focused on sports than academics, that is my major complaint. The teachers here are not nearly as professional as in my old home town. The school holds open teacher slots for people who can coach, for example, instead of hiring teachers based on their ability to teach. So, the academic atmosphere is very weak.

Having said that, the college system here is very affordable. Students can earn lots of college credit during high school that is guaranteed to transfer to the three state colleges, which are very inexpensive for residents. I don't think the quality of education is tops, but it lets everyone get a solid college education at very low cost.

The Des Moines area is very affordable in comparison to most east/west coast metro areas, but is probably one of the more expensive areas within Iowa. Des Moines is the capital city and has tremendous cultural offerings for such a small city--lots to do here. Real estate taxes here are very high as well. But, it's quiet. Rush hour is very manageable, the pace is slower than in a big city (drivers will make you crazy until you get used to it).

In the Des Moines area, the western suburbs have very little crime or problems with violence in the schools. The vast majority of people are middle class and white. You can get a wonderful 3-4 bedroom house here for less than $200K. Most of the housing here was built in the 1980s or later. In the older areas, small homes sell for less than $100K.

The city of Des Moines has greater cultural diversity in terms of economics and race, but also more crime and school behavior/violence issues. The high-end housing in the western area of Des Moines actually costs more than the western suburbs, but the city has many more nice older homes (of various sizes) that range greatly in price. You can live in a very nice neighborhood for under $250K.

Housing prices are definitely softening here, and if you buy a house here don't expect it to increase in value dramatically over the years (once the economy gets back on track), as has happened in cities such as Las Vegas. In the midwest, housing prices are much more steady. They don't go up like gangbusters, but they also haven't fallen dramatically.

Be sure to choose a home in an established neighborhood that has historically strong resale value if you plan to move within 10 years. You will find TONS of new housing here (houses popping up in cornfields), but it's a very poor investment--with so much new housing, people will buy brand new instead of a house in the same area that is a few years old. People have a terrible time selling houses a few years old, and can only unload them for less than they paid. Trees grow really slowly here (lots of cold weather), so those new neighborhoods don't "fill in" for many years.

From what I've seen in West Des Moines, the houses that are walking distance to the high school (built in the 1970s-1990s) sell the most quickly, for example. So, I recommend you choose an older neighborhood for future resale.

My kids were in high school when we moved, so it was a rough transition. Where we lived before was very culturally diverse and highly academic. The school system was county-wide with seven high schools. Here we have one high school in the town, and although this is a fairly large city, it feels like a clicky small town. The kids aren't terribly welcoming--most have lived here all their lives. Very few have any academic ambition--they plan to go to Iowa state colleges, so they can coast all the way through high school and take few difficult classes. But, once my kids got involved in sports and other activities they have made some nice friends here.

Moving from Las Vegas would be a big change, but you might find that you like Iowa very much. People here are very proud of their state, so you need to embrace that. If you plan to go to college here, it is very inexpensive. Although the state colleges are very average, they are large and have many programs within them that offer excellent specialized education.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:49 AM
 
450 posts, read 2,048,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natahoa View Post

As far as education, the public schools here are not anywhere as good as they were in NoVa, but that area has some of the best schools in the nation. The schools here are far behind the times, and each little city has its own school system. The high schools are much more focused on sports than academics, that is my major complaint. The teachers here are not nearly as professional as in my old home town. The school holds open teacher slots for people who can coach, for example, instead of hiring teachers based on their ability to teach. So, the academic atmosphere is very weak.

Having said that, the college system here is very affordable. Students can earn lots of college credit during high school that is guaranteed to transfer to the three state colleges, which are very inexpensive for residents. I don't think the quality of education is tops, but it lets everyone get a solid college education at very low cost.
Anyone else find these paragraphs odd? When top rated public education systems are discussed, one usually hears of the Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire school systems. Never once have I heard Virginia mentioned in that conversation...Sour grapes, maybe?
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,136,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe1 View Post
Anyone else find these paragraphs odd? When top rated public education systems are discussed, one usually hears of the Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire school systems. Never once have I heard Virginia mentioned in that conversation...Sour grapes, maybe?
I was wondering which school district they were referring to, as that has certainly not been my experience with Iowa public schools. I know Cedar Rapids and Iowa City high schools are ranked as some of the best in the nation.
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Des Moines
586 posts, read 2,008,980 times
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NoVa is a very wealthy area and it wouldn't surprise me if some of the schools there were top notch. You could argue that our wealthy suburbs have top notch education as well, it's just that the districts might not offer as many activities or as much curriculum because of their smaller size.

All of those reports you hear about great Iowa schools is probably taken on a statewide average. My guess is that you'll find decent public schools in most very wealthy suburbs of mega cities across the country, with **** poor schools in the poor rural and urban areas of the same state. We just don't have as large of extremes of wealth and poverty in Iowa to create those kinds of conditions.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:15 PM
 
1,237 posts, read 3,124,238 times
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So I'm pretty sure one of Iowa's slogans is ' First in the nation in education'.

As a product of the Iowa public school system - it lives up to it no question. While I can't speak for NoVa I tend to think that they also have a variety of private and charter schools to choose from as well. Here we rely heavily on the public school system.

I don't believe that sports are regarded with a higher priority - education always came first in my school. That said, sports as well as any extra activities (music, DECA, ect.) were encouraged as it makes you a more well rounded student and often leads to better scholarships in and out of state.

A degree from either Iowa or Iowa State will be regarded as a great education. Iowa tends to be more medically based scientifically while ISU is more engineering and agricultural. Iowa City is more entertwined with the campus while Ames is more of a town and the ISU campus is contained in a specific area of the town. Both have exceptional sports teams (sans ISU fball recently) as well as abundant opportunities to prepare for careers.

Iowa as a whole is being affected by the economy troubles - just a little slower and not as obviously as larger locations. However with the lower housing costs and general lower cost of living it should be easier to weather the storm (hopefully).
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:59 PM
 
10 posts, read 50,802 times
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Thanks for the info everyone. I'm trying to find out as much as I can because my older brother doesn't really think a move will benefit us. At the same time there's no point in staying in vegas when the umemployment has reached 8%.

Iowa city was a place I was interested in. I hope it's not too expensive, because my family wants to move somewhere less expensive than Vegas so we can save money. Is there any cheaper places that are near the two universites? My major is Journalism PR/Advertising. Does anyone know if Iowa or Iowa state would be better for that major?
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