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Warren County is Great

Warren County is great.  Those of us fortunate to call Warren County “home” count our blessings to reside in the ‘Southern Gateway’ to the Des Moines Metro.  We have the best schools, a great quality of life, and are connected to both small town living and big city attributes.

Warren County is a ‘Great Place’, literally.  A group of area leaders worked with the Warren County Economic Development Corporation several years ago (during the Vilsack Administration) to achieve the “Great Places” designation, one of the first “places” in Iowa to do so.

Additionally, a lot of famous people have connections to Warren County.  George Washington Carver is known for his contributions with Iowa State University in Ames, but the famous inventor also attended Simpson College in Indianola.  In fact, some of us refer to the Indianola to Ames connection as the ‘Carver Corridor’, a name which has been used to brand Indianola’s startup community.  The list of famous people and their connection(s) to Warren County is lengthy, but best saved for a future article.

And those outside of Warren County are also beginning to understand the greatness of our beloved county.  In the past couple of weeks a group called ‘Movoto’ came out with a story called “These Are The 10 Best Places In Iowa”.

I know very little about Movoto.  Their website reveals that Movota has a real estate blog and might even buy and sell real estate, too.  And why this group decided to take an active interest in Iowa places I have no idea, though it appears that the group intends to compile similar lists for other states.

Nonetheless, when a group comes out with a “best of” places list, unless Dennis Rodman is responsible with the rankings, chances on you want to be on it.

Interestingly enough, among the top ten are eight Central Iowa cities.  Warren County has one community on this list (Norwalk at number six).  Expanding the list a little further finds that Indianola is #12 and West Des Moines is #14.

Based on that description, one wonders whether or not Movoto performed their analysis of Dallas and Polk counties and skipped Iowa’s other 97 counties.  Movoto, however, took the following factors in consideration for their ranking:

Cost of Living
High School Graduation
Median Household Income
Median Home Value
Median Rent

Movoto Real Estate analyzed the 81 communities in Iowa with a population above 5,000, rather than all of Iowa’s roughly 950 cities.  Norwalk performed best in the area of ‘Median Household Income’, ranking eighth.  Next best was ‘High School Graduation’, ranking 12th.

Indianola performed best in the category of ‘Median Household Income’, ranking 17th.  Like Norwalk, Indianola’s next best category was ‘High School Graduation’, ranking 19th.

West Des Moines, which has grown into Warren County in recent years, achieved a #14 ranking largely due to two factors – ‘High School Graduation’ and ‘Median Rent Price’, both second among the Iowa communities evaluated.

It is a bit surprising that West Des Moines is not rated higher overall, considering that the city is ranked fifth overall for ‘Median Home Value’ and tenth for ‘Median Household Income’.  West Des Moines, however, ranked 70th for ‘Cost of Living’, the primary reason for holding the city back a bit

Oftentimes we talk about how great a place Warren County is to live, work, and raise a family.  Skeptics might charge that of course we say that, everyone says that about their place.  When someone with no ties to Warren County says it, however, our claims are given enhanced credibility.  Now I just need to learn more about Movoto.

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