Greater Des Moines is growing, and its growth outpaces that of almost every city in the region.

With the help of research conducted by Iowa State University economist Liesl Eathington and U.S. Census Bureau data, we looked at the most recent population trends, measuring the time period from the 2010 census to the latest available 2013 estimates. 

What we found: 

- Greater Des Moines is growing at a faster rate than most surrounding places.

- Double-digit growth in some of the region’s suburbs is leading the way.

- Metropolitan areas in Iowa are driving the population growth of the state, but no place more than Greater Des Moines. 

Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

Comparing the suburbs (Population growth 2010-2013)

1. Waukee - 23.7% growth
2. Bondurant - 19.5% growth
3. Polk City - 16.3% growth
4. Johnston - 14.6% growth
5. Grimes - 13.2% growth
6. Ankeny - 13.1% growth
7. West Des Moines - 8% growth
8. Clive - 7.7% growth
9. Altoona - 7.7% growth
10. Norwalk - 7.4% growth
11. Urbandale - 5.9% growth
12. Pleasant Hill - 3.4% growth 
13. Indianola - 2.2% growth
14. Carlisle - 1.9% growth
15. Des Moines - 1.6% growth
16. Windsor Heights - 0.6% growth

For this analysis, we looked at cities that were both in the Des Moines-West Des Moines metropolitan statistical area, and had chambers of commerce affiliated with the Greater Des Moines Partnership. So Newton and Pella, which are affiliated with the Partnership but not in the MSA, are not counted, nor are towns such as Perry, which are in the MSA but not part of the Partnership.

Des Moines vs. The Midwest (Population Growth 2010-2013)

Greater Des Moines has been the Midwest’s fastest-growing city during the last three years by percentage. It was the fourth-fastest-growing city by total population. For fun, we also compared Des Moines with the Austin-Round Rock, Texas, metropolitan statistical area, which grew a whopping 9.72 percent in the last three years.

Iowa population change by city size (2010 to 2013)

Larger cities in Iowa were more likely to have population growth than small cities, and cities that are within MSAs increased in population while cities outside MSAs decreased in population. Also note that if you take the Greater Des Moines population out of the equation, the state’s overall population decreased very slightly. 

Des Moines vs. Iowa cities