List of largest Iowa cities by population

Below is a list of the 30 largest incorporated cities in the State of Iowa ranked by population, based on the reported results of the 2017 United States Census population estimates.[1] 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 Skyline Description
1 Des Moines 217,521 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. Forbes magazine ranked Des Moines as the "Best Place for Business" in 2010.
2 Cedar Rapids 132,228 Linn   Cedar Rapids 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 also home to the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Class A minor league baseball club affiliated with the Minnesota Twins), the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (hockey), the Cedar Rapids Titans (IFL football), and the Cedar Rapids Rampage (soccer).
3 Davenport 102,320 Scott   Located approximately halfway between Chicago and Des Moines, Davenport is on the border of Iowa and Illinois within 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. The city has a Class A minor league baseball team, the Quad Cities River Bandits and hosts the Quad City Air Show, Iowa's largest airshow.
4 Sioux City 82,514 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. The city is home to several cultural points of interest including the Sioux City Public Museum, Sioux City Art Center and Sergeant Floyd Monument, which is a National Historical Landmark.
5 Iowa City 75,798 Johnson   Iowa City was the second capital of the Iowa Territory and 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 landmarks. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Iowa City the second-best small metropolitan area for doing business in the United States.[2]
6 Waterloo 67,587 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 current name. The city is part of the Waterloo–Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.
7 Ames 66,498 Story   Ames is the home of the Iowa State University, a public research institution, and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.[3][4] Ames hosts a national site for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) which comprises the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB),[5] and the Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Disease Center (NADC).[6]
8 West Des Moines 65,608 Polk
  The West Des Moines area used to be home to the Sac and Fox tribes. 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.[7] It is one of Iowa's largest and wealthiest cities and one of Des Moines's richest suburbs.
9 Ankeny 62,416 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.[8] The population was 45,562 in the 2010 census, an increase of 68% from the 27,117 population in the 2000 census.[9][10] It is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.
10 Council Bluffs 62,316 Pottawattamie   Council Bluffs, until 1852, was Kanesville—the historic starting point of the Mormon Trail and eventual northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trails. It is the county seat of Pottawattamie County,[11] and is on the east bank of the Missouri River across from what is now the much larger city of Omaha, Nebraska.
11 Dubuque 58,276 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.
12 Urbandale 43,592 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 41,570 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. The city is part of the Waterloo–Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.
14 Marion 39,400 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. 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 35,813 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 Mason City 27,399 Cerro Gordo   Mason City is the county seat of Cerro Gordo County. 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.
17 Marshalltown 27,280 Marshall   Marshalltown is the county seat of Marshall County.
18 Clinton 25,480 Clinton   Clinton is the county seat of Clinton County.
19 Burlington 25,022 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 24,454 Wapello   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 24,305 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 23,782 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 Johnston 21,562 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.
24 Coralville 20,881 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.
25 Waukee 20,649 Dallas   Waukee is part of the Des Moines – West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 13,790 at the 2010 U.S. Census; a fast growth has been measured since as it is estimated there were 19,284 people living in Waukee in 2016.
26 North Liberty 18,813 Johnson   The North Liberty area was first settled in 1838 by John Gaylor and Alonzo C. Dennison. It was originally known as "Big Bottom" or "North Bend" (in reference to its location near the bend of the Iowa River) by its earliest settlers and was later known as "Squash Bend" before the city was platted as North Liberty in 1857.
27 Altoona 18,699 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.
28 Clive 17,172 Dallas
  Clive is known for its Greenbelt Trail system running through the entire community. Clive serves as the axis of the western Des Moines suburbs, being located between Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines along the major transportation corridors of I-35, I-80 and I-235. The City of Urbandale is to the north to northwest, the City of West Des Moines is to the southeast to southwest, the City of Waukee in Dallas County is to the west.
29 Indianola 15,990 Warren   Indianola is the county seat of Warren County.[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.
30 Newton 15,109 Jasper   Newton, established in 1846 and incorporated in 1856, serves as the county seat of Jasper County.[15] The community is located on Interstate 80, just 30 minutes east of the Des Moines metro. It is the home of Iowa Speedway, Maytag Dairy Farms, the historic Capitol II Theatre and Valle Drive-In. F.L. Maytag started the Maytag Corporation in Newton.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Annual Population Estimates: Vintage 2017". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  2. ^ "#2 Iowa City IA -". Forbes.
  3. ^ Iowa State University Time Line, 1858–1874 Archived 2009-05-13 at the Wayback Machine. 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. Archived from the original on 2011-09-15. 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.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Data from the 2010 Census". State Data Center of Iowa. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
  11. ^ Pottawattamie County, Iowa Archived 2009-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, Pottawattamie County, 2007. Accessed 2007-09-05.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Bernard Goldstein" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Gaming, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  14. ^ Heitz, David. "The Waterfront prepares to roll out the welcome mat, opens Saturday". Quad-City Times (January 23, 2009). Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  15. ^ a b "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.