Demographics Of Des Moines 2018-03-02T12:05:45-06:00

Des Moines – The Midwest Gem

Des Moines, Iowa is the largest city in the state as well as the most populous. The city also serves as the county seat of Polk County, although a small section of the city extends into neighboring Warren County. The city is named after the Des Moines River. The population of the city is just over 205,000 and resides within the five-county metropolitan area. The entire five-county area has almost 600,000 residents and ranks as the 91st largest area within the United States. The city serves as a major hub for both the insurance industry and the financial sector, as well as publishing. Business Wire designated Des Moines as the third largest insurance city in the world. The city serves as headquarters for Athene USA, Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, EMC Insurance Company, Ruan Transportation, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Other major corporations within the city include Voya Financial, Wells Fargo, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Marsh, ACE Limited, Pioneer Hi-Bred, and Monsanto. Ranked by Forbes magazine as the Best Place For Business, Des Moines has also been designated one of the Wealthiest Cities in America.


As the capital of Iowa, Des Moines holds a politically important position as the seat of state government for the state holding the first caucuses of the presidential election cycle. Many presidential candidates set up campaign headquarters and bring in staff to Des Moines. The environment in the area provides some of the most intimate opportunities to meet with the presidential contenders.

A Bit Of History

In 1851, the city of Des Moines was incorporated. In 1857, the state capital was moved to Des Moines from Iowa City and while the city saw little growth during the Civil War, the city exploded in importance and size when the railroad started operations in the city in 1866. Coal mining became a viable industry within the area in 1864 when the systematic mining started for the first time.


Des Moines started a City Beautiful project at the turn of the 20th century. During the construction of this project, large Beaux Arts buildings and fountains were built along the river. Surviving examples of early 1900 buildings include the Des Moines Public Library, the City Hall, and the central Post Office. These structures now form the Civic Center Historic District.

In the mid-1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps build the ornate riverfront balustrade which lines the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. since the 1980s, the city rebounded to a white-collar professional city from a blue-collar industrial environment.


In the latest census, the area reported about 205,000 people who resided in 82,000 households and consisted of 48,000 families. The racial makeup of the city was 77 percent white, 11 percent African-American, with the rest consisting of other races and ethnicities. More than 32 percent of the 82,000 households has children under the age of 18 living with them. Forty percent of these households consisted of married couples while another 14 percent had a female head of households. The median age in Des Moines was 34 years of age and 25 percent of the population was under the age of 18. Almost 11 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24, 30 percent between the ages of 25 to 44, 24 percent between the ages of 45 to 64, and 11 percent were age 65 or older. The distribution of female to male was almost exactly split.

Arts And Culture

Des Moines is considered to be the cultural center of the state and is home to several history and art museums, along with performing arts groups. Residents routinely attend Broadway shows and other live performances.

Des Moines is a thriving city located in the middle of the United States in Iowa. Home to many insurance and financial companies, Des Moines has a robust community.