List of largest Iowa cities by population

This is a list of the 28 largest incorporated cities in the State of Iowa ranked by population, based on the reported results of the 2013 United States Census population estimates.[1]

Note: These are the actual incorporated areas of the listed cities, as opposed to metropolitan areas, or counties, and will therefore differ from other available population listings.

Rank City Population County Image Description
1 Des Moines 207,510 Polk


Des Moines is a major center for the insurance industry and also has a sizable financial services and publishing business base. In fact, Des Moines was credited with the "number one spot for U.S. insurance companies" in a Business Wire article. The city is the headquarters for the Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, Ruan Transportation, EMC Insurance Companies, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Other major corporations such as Wells Fargo, Voya Financial, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Marsh, Monsanto, and Pioneer Hi-Bred have large operations in or near the metro area. Forbes magazine ranked Des Moines as the "Best Place for Business" in 2010.
2 Cedar Rapids 128,429 Linn A flourishing center for arts and culture in Eastern Iowa, the city is home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance. It is an economic hub of the state, located in the core of the Interstate 380. It is also home to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A minor league baseball club affiliated with the Minnesota Twins organization, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, a USHL hockey team, the Cedar Rapids Titans, an IFL football team, and the Cedar Rapids Rampage, a Major Arena Soccer League team. The city also is home of many successful athletes, including professional golfer Zach Johnson, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner, and professional race car driver Landon Cassill. Cedar Rapids is also Iowa's industrial hub, and has more manufacturing jobs than any other city in the state. Due to the presence of several major corn processors and sweetener facilities, it is frequently dubbed the "Cereal Capital of the World".
3 Davenport 102,157 Scott Located approximately halfway between Chicago and Des Moines, Davenport is on the border of Iowa and Illinois of the area known as the Quad Cities. The city is prone to occasional flooding due to its location on the Mississippi River. There are two main universities: Saint Ambrose University and Palmer College of Chiropractic, which is where the first chiropractic adjustment took place. Several annual music festivals take place in Davenport, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Mississippi Valley Fair, and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. An internationally known 7-mile (11 km) foot race called the Bix 7 is run during the festival. The city has a Class A minor league baseball team, the Quad Cities River Bandits. Davenport has 27 parks and over 12 miles (19 km) of recreational paths for biking or walking. It has a declining crime rate and a low rate of unemployment, and was ranked as the most affordable metropolitan area in 2010 by Forbes. In 2007, Davenport, along with neighboring Rock Island, won the City Livability Award in the small-city category from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The city also hosts the Quad City Air Show which is the largest airshow in the state.
4 Sioux City 82,459 Woodbury


Sioux City is at the navigational head of the Missouri River, about 95 miles north of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Sioux City and the surrounding areas of northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota are sometimes referred to as Siouxland, especially by the local media.
5 Iowa City 71,591 Johnson Iowa City was the second capital of the Iowa Territory, and it was also the first capital city of the State of Iowa. The Old Capitol building is a National Historic Landmark, and it is a tourist attraction in the center of the campus of the University of Iowa, as well as being an integral part of the university. The University of Iowa Art Museum and Plum Grove, the home of the first Governor of Iowa, are other tourist attractions. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Iowa City the second-best small metropolitan area for doing business in the United States.[2]
6 Waterloo 68,366 Black Hawk The name "Waterloo" supplanted the original name, "Prairie Rapids Crossing" shortly after Charles Mullan petitioned for a post office in the town. Since the signed petition did not include the name of the proposed post office location, Mullan was charged with selecting the name when he submitted the petition. Tradition has it that as he flipped through a list of other post offices in the United States, he came upon the name "Waterloo." The name struck his fancy, and on December 29, 1851, a post office was established under that name. The town was later called the same, and Mullan served as the first postmaster from December 29, 1851 until August 11, 1854.
7 Council Bluffs 61,969 Pottawattamie Council Bluffs, until 1852, was Kanesvillethe historic starting point of the Mormon Trail and eventual northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trails. It is the county seat,[3] and is on the east bank of the Missouri River across from what is now the much larger city of Omaha, Nebraska.
8 Ames 61,792 Story Ames is the home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU), a public research institution with leading Agriculture, Design, Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine colleges. ISU is the nation's first designated land-grant university,[4] and the birthplace of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the world's first electronic digital computer.[5] Ames hosts one of two national sites for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) which comprises the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).[6] Ames is also the home of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Disease Center (NADC).[7] NADC is the largest federal animal disease center in the U.S., conducting research aimed at solving animal health and food safety problems faced by livestock producers and the public. Ames has the headquarters for the Iowa Department of Transportation.
9 West Des Moines 61,255 Polk


West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the ninth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008.[8] It is one of Iowa's largest and wealthiest cities and one of Des Moines's richest suburbs.
10 Dubuque 58,253 Dubuque The city lies at the junction of three states: Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, a region locally known as the Tri-State Area. It serves as the main commercial, industrial, educational, and cultural center for the area. Geographically, it is part of the Driftless Area, a portion of North America that escaped all three phases of the Wisconsinian Glaciation. It is one of the few large cities in Iowa with hills, and is home to a large tourist industry, driven by the city's unique architecture, and river location. Also, it is home to five institutions of higher education, making it a center for culture and learning.
11 Ankeny 54,598 Polk A 2015 Special Census count conducted from December 2014 through March 2015 has the population at 54,598, a population growth of nearly 20% in the past 5 years.[9] The population was 45,562 in the 2010 census, an increase of 68% from the 27,117 population in the 2000 census.[10][11] It is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
12 Urbandale 41,776 Polk


As of the 2000 census, the city population was 29,072; a special census taken by the city in 2005 counted 35,904 residents and the United States Census Bureau estimated that 38,369 residents lived there in 2008.[12] It is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
13 Cedar Falls 40,566 Black Hawk Cedar Falls is home to one of Iowa's three public universities, the University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls was founded in 1845 by William Sturgis. It was originally named Sturgis Falls, for the first family who settled the site.
14 Marion 36,147 Linn Marion is part of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was named after Francis Marion, a hero of the Revolutionary War. The site was selected in 1839 to be the first county seat of the newly organized Linn County, Iowa. After years of debate over moving the county seat to Cedar Rapids, it was put to a vote in 1919. The vote was 9,960 in favor of moving the seat and 4,823 not in favor.
15 Bettendorf 34,707 Scott Bettendorf is the fourth largest city in the Quad Cities. The first modern-day riverboat casinos in the United States were launched in Bettendorf on April 1, 1991 by local businessman Bernard Goldstein. He went on to found the Isle of Capri Casinos. Goldstein and his family members also operate Alter Companies, which is a scrap metal, barge and towboat company operating on the river waterfront.[13] The Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center opened by the casino and hotel in 2009.[14] It is owned by the city and operated by the Isle of Capri.
16 Marshalltown 27,844 Marshall Marshalltown is the county seat of Marshall County.
17 Mason City 27,704 Cerro Gordo Mason City is the county seat. Mason City has a very diverse employment base covering multiple sectors of the economy including Manufacturing, Health, Financial Services, Technology and Education, with no one sector or employer dominating the market.
18 Clinton 26,473 Clinton Clinton is the county seat of Clinton County.
19 Burlington 25,725 Des Moines Burlington is the county seat of Des Moines County. It is the first capital of the Iowa Territory and also one the oldest towns in Iowa. Burlington is the home of Snake Alley, once labelled the crookedest alley in the world.
20 Ottumwa 24,840 Wappello Ottumwa is located in the southeastern part of Iowa, and the city is split into northern and southern halves by the Des Moines River.
21 Fort Dodge 24,639 Webster Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S. Routes 20 and 169.
22 Muscatine 23,034 Muscatine Muscatine is located along the Mississippi River. The name Muscatine is unique in that it is not used by any other city in the United States.
23 Coralville 20,092 Johnson Coralville is a suburb of Iowa City and part of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area. Coralville incorporated as a city in 1873. The city's name comes from the fossils that are found in the limestone along the Iowa River.
24 Johnston 19,798 Polk Johnston is the location of the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred Seeds, Iowa Public Television, and The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America. Also located here are the Camp Dodge Military Reservation as well as the Paul J. and Ida Trier House, a private residence designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
25 North Liberty 18,228 Johnson
26 Altoona 15,653 Polk Altoona is home of Adventureland, an amusement park, Prairie Meadows, a horse racing track and casino, and a Bass Pro Shops retail store, the first one in central Iowa. It is a suburb of Des Moines.
27 Newton 15,136 Jasper Newton the county seat.[15] It is the home of Maytag Dairy Farms and was formerly home to the Maytag Corporation's corporate headquarters until the Whirlpool Corporation acquired it in 2006. It is also the location of Iowa Speedway.
28 Indianola 15,108 Warren Indianola is the county seat.[15] Simpson College, a liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church, is in Indianola. It is also the home of the National Balloon Classic and National Balloon Museum.

See also


  1. "#2 Iowa City IA -". Forbes.
  2. Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Pottawattamie County, 2007. Accessed 2007-09-05.
  3. Iowa State University Time Line, 1858–1874. Iowa State University Website.
  4. The First Electronic Computer by Arthur W. Burks
  5. "USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Animal Health - Veterinary Services". 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  6. "National Animal Disease Center : Home". Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  7. Money (2008-07-02). "100 Best Places to Live and Launch". CNN. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  8. "City of Ankeny:Special Census Results Show Ankeny Is Iowa's Fastest Growing Community". City of Ankeny Government. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  9. "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010". United States Census Bureau American FactFinder. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
  10. "Data from the 2010 Census". State Data Center of Iowa. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
  11. United States Census Bureau. "Special Census Certified Counts for Governmental Units in Iowa (2005)". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-10-02.
  12. "Bernard Goldstein", Gaming, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  13. Heitz, David. "The Waterfront prepares to roll out the welcome mat, opens Saturday". Quad-City Times (January 23, 2009). Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  14. 1 2 "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
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