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A Wholesome, Friendly Town in Pastoral Central Iowa, Ankeny Has Safe, Tidy Neighborhoods and a Nice Downtown
Overview: Appealing Ankeny is a tidy town about 10 miles north of Des Moines (population 200,000) and six miles east of popular 6,000-acre Saylorville Lake in pastoral central Iowa. It has been growing quickly, changing from a small town atmosphere to a small city atmosphere within the last 10 or 20 years, and it has landed on several "best places to live" lists.
This is a wholesome, family-oriented place, and residents seem to love living here. Ankeny is home to biotech companies and manufacturing companies, including John Deere (the town's largest employer). Good schools and an extended parks system, in which nearly every home is within walking distance of a grassy green space, are particular highlights. The attractive downtown is known as Uptown and dotted with awning-draped retailers. Saylorville Lake and its two adjacent state parks attract people from around central Iowa for boating, fishing, camping and more. Des Moines Area Community College has classes for all ages, and the Ankeny Art Center, the Ankeny Community Chorus and the Ankeny Community Theatre add a bit of culture.
Neighborhoods are prim, and homes are primarily wood frame and brick ranch ramblers. New gated communities are here, too. Shopping choices include national retailers, locally owned shops and a farmers' market.
Population: 58,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 30%
Cost of Living: 2% below the national average
Median Home Price: $260,000
Climate: This area has a humid continental climate, meaning hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures range from below zero to the 20s. On average, Ankeny receives 25 inches of snow and 30 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Des Moines has several hospitals that accept Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Des Moines has several hospitals that are accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, provided by Ankeny Express, but it only makes a few stops in town and then heads to Des Moines.
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 45%
Is Iowa Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: The tornado risk is 215% greater than the national average.
Notes: Ankeny has grown by 33% in the last decade. It has little racial diversity.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Iowa is known for its state fairs, down to earth people and often severe weather (it averages 37 tornados and 50 days of severe thunderstorms each year). As if to compensate for the sometimes wild weather, Iowa is one of the safest states in which to live. Its nickname is the Hawkeye State.
Bordered on three sides by rivers, the Mississippi to the east, the Missouri to the west and the Des Moines on the south, Iowa boasts a sweeping landscape of tallgrass prairie and cornstalk fields. Not surprsingly, its economy has been based in agriculture for much of its history. In recent years, though, the state has diversified into financial services, green energy production and manufacturing.
Iowa was a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana during the Colonial period, and its state flag is based on France's flag. The first American settlers arrived in the area in 1833. Iowa joined the Union in 1846 and supported the North during the Civil War.
Interesting sites include the Iowa River Valley, Snake Alley (nothing to do with snakes) and Pikes Peak State Park (nothing to do with the Colorado mountain).
Population - 3,134,693
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 92%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 5%
White persons, not Hispanic - 86%
Median household income - $53,135
Median home value - $129,200
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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