Des Moines | World’s Best Cities

Des Moines

Set on the Des Moines River among the state’s famous rolling cornfields, Iowa’s state capital is a business mecca with an artsy side, bustling late into the evening with a blend of daring culture and heartland hospitality. Add in the low, low cost of living, and is it any wonder prairie-cool Des Moines, which earns our #2 ranking for Prosperity, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest? Des Moines earns an impressive #3 ranking for its number of Fortune 500 headquarters. Major outposts of Nationwide and Wells Fargo round out the thriving finance and insurance sector, which boasts a $3-billion annual payroll. And in the golden-domed State Capitol, lawmakers are working to ensure a friendly business climate with temptingly low corporate taxes. Business might be booming, but that doesn’t mean cost of living is: Des Moines remains affordable, with housing costs at about two-thirds the national average. With that, the burgeoning cultural scene, and friendly Midwest attitude, you get a combination that is attracting increasing numbers of young talent who appreciate the feeling that—in the words of one recent young arrival—all of Des Moines is one “large living room.”