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West Des Moines

West Des Moines, Iowa

  •   State: 
    Polk County
    West Des Moines
      County FIPS: 
    41°30′34″N 93°46′50″W
      Area total: 
    48.22 sq mi
      Area land: 
    47.24 sq mi (122.34 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.98 sq mi (2.54 km²)
    955 ft (291 m)
    Incorporated October 9, 1893
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    West Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    1,454.86 residents per square mile of area (561.72/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, Warren, and Madison counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 68,723. It is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places To Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The city is home to the West Des Moines Golf and Country Club and the Iowa State Fair. It was founded in 1845 by a cattle farmer, James Cunningham Jordan, who declared the area open for Anglo-European settlement. The Jordan House was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and abolitionist John Brown stayed on Jordan property multiple times, at least once while escorting a group of freedom-seeking slaves to Canada. On August 7, 1915, the eyes of the auto world were on Valley Junction in anticipation of the fastest 300-mile (480 km) auto race in history. Ralph DePalma, winner of the Indianapolis 500 that year, was one of at least a dozen drivers vying for the $10,000 purse. Before a crowd of 7,000 people, a tire blew, lunging Joe Cooper's car over the rail. Cooper was killed and his mechanic was injured. Later while rounding a curb, a wheel of Billy Chandler's Duesenberg failed, cartwheeling the car into the infield and fatally injuring his mechanic, Maurice Keeler.


West Des Moines is the primary city name, but also W Des Moines, Wdm are acceptable city names or spellings. The official name is West Des Moines, Iowa. West Des Moines incorporated as the city of Valley Junction on October 9, 1893. Valley Junction was home to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad's switching facilities and repair shops due to its location at the junction of several railroad lines. The speed limit of ten miles (16 km) an hour had existed in Valley Junction since 1911 for all automobiles. In 1915 an Englishman named Jack Prince built a one-mile (1.6 km) oval race track, designed to let race cars break that speed limit ten times over. On August 7, 1915, the eyes of the auto world were on Valley Junction in anticipation of the fastest 300- miles (480 km) auto race in history. Ralph DePalma, winner of the Indianapolis 500 that year, was one of at least a dozen drivers vying for the $10,000 purse. Smiling Ralph Mulford won the race with DePalman a close 2nd. By 1937, only two trains stopped stopping at Valley Junction. The name "Valley Junction" conveyed the image of an old-fashioned and backward town to prospective employers and residents. By the late 1920s, Valley Junction officially become a dry town in the state of Iowa. The Golf and Country Club left Des Moines in 1923 and moved to White Pole Road. The Keystone Coal Factory closed in 1936 due to flooding due to the flooding in the tunnels. A New Name was desperately needed by the editorial board of the Des Moines Register to give the name "West Moines" an respectability and prestige.


West Des Moines uses the mayor-council form of government with a city manager appointed by the city council. The council consists of the mayor, two at-large members, and three members from each of the city's three wards. The mayor and all council members serve four-year terms. Russ Trimble will be elected Mayor in November 2021. Tom Hadden is the city manager of West Des Moines. He was appointed by former mayor Eugene Meyer after Meyer's resignation in January 2007. Rick Messerschmidt served as the interim mayor of the City following former Mayor Eugene Meyer's resigned in January2007. On April 17 Steve Gaer was elected mayor during a special election and held that position until Russ trimble was elected Mayor. Trimble is expected to be sworn in as mayor on November 1, 2021. He will be the first mayor to serve a full term in the position of mayor since Meyer's departure in 2007. The city manager is appointed by a city council that is made up of members from the mayor's office and three at- large members. He has been appointed by Mayor Trimble for a total of three terms, the most recent of which will be four years, starting in 2021. The City Manager is Tom H Madden, who has been with the city since 2007 and served as mayor from 2007 to 2011. He is currently serving his third term as city manager, the longest serving member of the council since the city was formed in 1978. The Mayor and City Manager serve a four year term, beginning in 2011.


West Des Moines is located at 41°3425N 93°451W (41.573739, 93.750359). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has an area of 39.48 square miles (102.25 km²) West Des Moines has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa). Many of the east-west streets share the same name with Des Moines, although the numbering of these east- west streets starts over in West Des Des Moines. The city is located in the Raccoon River valley, which has left parts of the city prone to flooding. After the Great Flood of 1993, a floodwall was constructed along Walnut Creek (near the boundary with Des Ames) to protect that area. The area is also known as Valley Junction, after the Valley Junction area, which is located near the Iowa Highway 28 border. The town has a population of 1.2 million (1.3 million in 2011). The city's population was 1.4 million (9,000 in 2011) in 2011. The population is expected to reach 1.6 million (10,000 by 2016) in the city's growth spurt. The current population is 1.5 million (8,000) in 2015. The U.N. World Population Census estimates the city will grow to 1.7 million (7,500 in 2015) by the end of the century. The number of people living in the town is 2.1 million (6,300 in 2015).


As of the census of 2010, there were 56,609 people, 24,311 households, and 14,201 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 88.4% White, 3.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 4.8% Asian, 1.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. The city's median income was $54,139, and the median income for a family was $70,600 (in a 2008 estimate, these figures had risen to $61,256 and $83,800 respectively, in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars). Males had a median income of $45,185 versus $31,555 for females. The per capita income for theCity was $31.405. 2.8%. of families and 4.5%. of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3%. of those under the age of 18 and 3.0% of those 65 and older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was2.98. The median age in the City was 33.5 years, with 24.1% of residents being under the ages of 18; 9.2%. of residents were between 18 and 24; 32.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.4%. were from 45 to 64; and 10.6%. were 65 years of age or older. There were 20,815 housing units at an average density of 777.1 per square mile (300.0/km²).


Hy-Vee, FBL Financial Group, GuideOne Insurance, American Equity, Sammons Financial Group and ITA Group are headquartered in West Des Moines. Other large employers include ADP, Goodrich and Wells Fargo's Card Services and Home Mortgage divisions. Wells Fargo recently completed its corporate campus south of Jordan Creek Town Center that is the home of their Home Mortgage and Consumer Finance divisions. According to the city's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: FBL, ITA, and Windsor Windows & Doors. The Iowa Foundation for Medical Care is also headquartered in the area. The city's unemployment rate is at 4.2 percent, the lowest in the state, according to the state's employment statistics. The average U.S. household income is $62,000, the highest rate in the country. The median household salary is $60,000. The state's poverty rate is 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate has been at 3.7 percent, and it is expected to remain at 3 percent for the next three years, the state says. The economy is projected to grow at a rate of 2.9 percent in the next few years. The rate of inflation is at 0.8 percent, up from 0.6 percent in 2013. The U.N. World Economic Forum says the world's economy will grow by 2.4 percent in 2014. The world's largest economy is the United States, with a growth rate of 1.9 per cent.


The West Des Moines Community School District has nine elementary schools, two junior high schools, and one high school. Valley High School moved to its present location in 1967. Dowling Catholic High School and Iowa Christian Academy from 1999 till its closing in 2019. Parts of Clive, Urbandale, and Windsor Heights are also in the district. The Dallas County portion of the district is part of the Waukee School District. Three of that district's ten elementary schools are in West Des Des Moines. The district also has an alternative high school (Walnut Creek Campus) and a second high school for freshmen only (Valley Southwoods) The district's high school is the only public high school in the city. It was built in 1917 and torn down in 1979. The high school was in a three-story brick building at 8th and Hillside. Before that, it was in an earlier brick building that was in the same location. The current high school building is in a former brick building built in 1913. The school's junior high was built on the site of a former elementary school. The elementary school was built at the end of the 19th century and moved to a new location in the early 20th century. It is now in a new building on the same site as the junior high. The middle school is on the former middle school site. The junior high is now on the second floor of the old middle school building. The senior high is located on the third floor of a building that dates back to the early 1960s.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa = 65.4. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 60. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 32. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in West Des Moines = 4 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 68,723 individuals with a median age of 34.6 age the population grows by 22.03% in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 1,454.86 residents per square mile of area (561.72/km²). There are average 2.28 people per household in the 24,683 households with an average household income of $61,070 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is of the available work force and has dropped -0.40% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 35.00%. The number of physicians in West Des Moines per 100,000 population = 279.3.


The annual rainfall in West Des Moines = 32.2 inches and the annual snowfall = 34.2 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 108. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 200. 86 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 11.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 43, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa which are owned by the occupant = 58.84%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 18 years with median home cost = $166,620 and home appreciation of -1.06%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $16.13 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,869 per student. There are 15.6 students for each teacher in the school, 416 students for each Librarian and 441 students for each Counselor. 7.35% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 35.21% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 14.02% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • West Des Moines's population in Polk County, Iowa of 1,700 residents in 1900 has increased 40,43-fold to 68,723 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 51.76% female residents and 48.24% male residents live in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa.

    As of 2020 in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa are married and the remaining 39.70% are single population.

  • 19.6 minutes is the average time that residents in West Des Moines require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    84.66% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 8.08% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 1.87% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 3.69% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa, 58.84% are owner-occupied homes, another 34.43% are rented apartments, and the remaining 6.74% are vacant.

  • The 46.12% of the population in West Des Moines, Decatur County, Iowa who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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