This City Has Been Named the Worst City to live in Iowa

Iowa is recognized for its cornfields, welcoming populace, and affordable cost of living. Nonetheless, not all cities in Iowa offer an ideal place to call home. Some cities grapple with high crime rates, limited incomes, and a subpar quality of life. According to a comprehensive index comprising numerous social and economic indicators, 24/7 Wall St. pinpointed the least favorable city to reside in each state. In Iowa, that distinction goes to Fort Madison, situated in the southeastern corner of the state.

Elevated Crime Rates

One of the primary factors that render Fort Madison the least desirable city to live in Iowa is its disproportionately high crime rate. According to FBI data, Fort Madison recorded 1,020 violent crimes and 2,820 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2021, both more than double the national averages.

Furthermore, the city held the unfortunate distinction of having the highest murder rate in the state, with 12 homicides in 2021. As a result, residents of Fort Madison face a one in 98 likelihood of becoming victims of violent crime and a one in 35 likelihood of experiencing property crime.

Diminished Incomes and Elevated Poverty

Fort Madison’s unfavorable status is further compounded by its low income levels and elevated poverty rates. In 2021, the median household income in Fort Madison amounted to $40,598, a figure approximately $20,000 less than the national median.

The city also grapples with a poverty rate of 22.7%, which is more than double the national rate of 10.5%. In addition, approximately 30% of children in Fort Madison were living in poverty in 2021, a circumstance that can detrimentally affect their health, education, and future prospects.

Subpar Quality of Life

Fort Madison is also marked by a lower quality of life when compared to other cities in Iowa and across the nation. The city has a limited educational attainment, with only 16.8% of adults possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, in stark contrast to the national average of 33.1%. Additionally, Fort Madison contends with a higher unemployment rate, with 7.6% of the labor force jobless in 2021, compared to the national rate of 5.7%.

The city faces challenges in providing access to healthcare, boasting only 1.4 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, in stark contrast to the national average of 75.8. Fort Madison also endures a higher rate of premature deaths, with 10,900 years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 residents, compared to the national rate of 6,700.


In conclusion, Fort Madison, according to the findings of 24/7 Wall St., is the least desirable city to reside in Iowa. The city’s issues encompass a high crime rate, diminished incomes, and a subpar quality of life. Consequently, residents of Fort Madison encounter a multitude of challenges and risks, prompting some to contemplate relocating to a more secure and prosperous city in Iowa or elsewhere.

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