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Best Cities 2010: Des Moines, IA

City: Des Moines 

State: Iowa 

Best Cities Overall Rank: 15

About Des Moines: :

The original name of Des Moines was Fort Raccoon!

The downtown skywalk system is nearly four miles long.

The Downtown Farmer's Market has more than 200 vendors from all around Iowa.

Des Moines is ranked 19 in health thanks to its superior air quality and Blank Children's Hospital.

 County: Polk

Population: 197,052

Official website for city visitors' bureau/city: Visitor's bureau website

Newspaper with the largest circulation: Des Moines Register

Des Moines blogs:

Living Downtown Des Moines

Poppies Along the Driveway

Des Moines's Facebook page: Follow Des Moines on Facebook

Des Moines's Twitter page: Follow Des Moines on Twitter


Education rank: 34

High School graduation rate 2008: 82%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 2

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 1.015

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 14

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 7.10

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 265

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 14.5

Total Expenditures Per Student: $11, 521


Health rank: 19

Quality children's hospitals: 1

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0.51

Quality Pediatricians: 0

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 0


Safety rank: 52

Violent Crimes, 2008: 1,330

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 674.95

Sex Offenders: 370

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 187.77


Economy rank: 21

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 18.3        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 7.09    

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 759.53

Median Home Sale Price: $102,400                   

5-Year Home Value Index: 1.21%                        

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 18.16%      


Recreation Rank:  35

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 3,226         

Parkland per 100,000: 1,637.13