Steve DiGioia

Unveiling Iowa’s Worst Places: 5 Areas to Dodge in 2024


This article discusses the seven worst locations to live in Iowa, focusing on factors such as unemployment, crime rates, educational possibilities, and overall quality of life.

Every place, from little towns to large metropolises, has its own set of difficulties that people must cope with on a daily basis.

By visiting these locations, we intend to demonstrate that living in the Hawkeye State is not as straightforward as its reputation implies.

Five Worst Places to Live in Iowa

When compared to hazardous cities like Los Angeles and New York City, Iowa’s worst places may appear quite pleasant.

However, they are so unpleasant that you should avoid them if you plan to relocate to the neighborhood.

Reading these lists can help you prepare your family for these potential concerns.


This article discusses the seven worst locations to live in Iowa, focusing on factors such as unemployment, crime rates, educational possibilities, and overall quality of life.

This small town in Iowa has a jail, therefore many people avoid it. Now that that’s out of the way, there isn’t much to say about this town of approximately 5,400 residents.

People claim it’s a cheap area to live and the commute is convenient, but everyone is complaining about the crime rate.

Clarinda has an average of 174 crimes every year. It’s unbelievable that it’s still safer than 44% of the country; it demonstrates how horrible things have gotten.

What about schools, then? These have horrible rankings of 4 and 6 out of 10, indicating that they are not suitable for raising children.

Furthermore, it is difficult to stroll around, which is unusual for such a small city. In other words, Clarinda is the type of town you drive through on your route to a better place.

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids, as a fairly large city, has a wide range of neighborhoods to pick from, as well as a huge number of employment opportunities for those who choose to work outside the home.

It’s a popular destination for new residents.

Cedar Rapids (or “CR” as its locals affectionately refer to it) used to be the purest spot on the planet, but the last twenty years have changed everything.

It is presently one of the worst areas to live in Iowa, ranking only 10% higher than the rest of the nation. The schools are likewise quite terrible.

Violence, drug usage, and a general lack of respect among the population have all contributed to the drop.

The 2008 flood also caused significant damage to houses and businesses around the country. Many of these buildings were never repurposed, but they remain vacant and dilapidated.

Because of these factors, Cedar Rapids, a once-beautiful city, is now ranked twenty on our list.

It also has a greater cost of living than the rest of the state, but property prices are $10,000 lower than in 2024.


Winterset Iowa Madison County Photo taken on November 9, 2019 Built in 1883 by Harvey P. Jones and George K. Foster, Roseman is 107 feet in length and sits in its original location. In Robert James Waller’s novel, The Bridges of Madison County, and the movie of the same name, Roseman is the bridge Robert Kincaid seeks when he stops at Francesca Johnson’s home for directions. It is also where Francesca leaves her note inviting him to dinner.

The majority of people are unfamiliar with this small community. Some people may find it difficult to pronounce this charming local town name.

As someone who has lived in Iowa their entire life and in Oelwein for a long time, I can confidently state that this small town has a high crime rate and drug use.

Yes, it is safer than 32% of all places in the United States.

However, this depends on each individual. This small location is not as safe as some places, thus it may not be a desirable place to live.

Furthermore, its educational institutions are subpar. In this sector, job growth is also slowing.

The village has a strong sense of community and is extremely affordable, with large, attractive homes available for nearly nothing.

However, our country’s drug crisis has rendered it dangerous and even nasty, despite the fact that the train sector was once quite prosperous.

Mason City

With a population of 27,309, some areas of the city are considered ideal for living and raising a family.

In comparison to other schools in the same category, this one receives great grades for education (eight out of 10). Why is it on this list?

First, there isn’t much crime in such a tiny area. It is safer than only 9% of the country, which is incredible given that it has only 30,000 residents.

The majority of the crimes here are property-related, although there are more serious crimes than I expected.

The schools are considerably poorer, and the jobs could be improved. In this community, certain jobs can pay as little as $6,700 annually.

This is not a mistake. In addition, the average income is $32,000, compared to the national average of $37,000.

However, the unemployment rate is considerably lower here than it is throughout the country.

Council Bluffs

At first appearance, moving to Council Bluffs appears to be a terrific decision. With almost 62,000 residents, it’s a sizable community for the state.

However, issues such as low walkability scores are merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of how dangerous this location is.

Crime is a serious issue in this small city. It is currently only 6% better than the rest of the country, with 224 violent offenses and 2,127 property crimes reported annually.

Living here increases your chances of becoming a victim of crime by 3.7%, which is excessive for such a small community.

How about schools? To be honest, I think we should avoid discussing them.

There are a few highly ranked kindergarten schools at the top of the list, but the majority are ranked between 1 and 5 on a scale of 10.

Read also: Unveiling the Chilling History: Oklahoma’s Haunted Cemetery Revealed

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