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How DSM Reigns as a Triple A City

Triple A City

November 5, 2020

When I think of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and the people who live and work here, a few words that immediately come to mind are resilient, innovative and motivated. This is the place where young professionals can thrive because of ample professional development and community engagement opportunities, and startup owners can find endless networking opportunities and resources to grow their businesses. It is a place with short commutes where you can find an affordable home in a distinct and welcoming neighborhood.

DSM is a region that strives to achieve while offering both accessibility and affordability to all its residents. In this respect, you could say that DSM is truly a triple-A city.


One of the most notable things about DSM is that the individuals living here have endless opportunities to grow within their respective fields and become leaders in the community. This is a place where knowledgeable mentors will meet young professionals for a cup of coffee or over a Zoom meeting. If you live here, you will not only develop in your professional role faster, but your likelihood of becoming interwoven into the DSM community will increase through these growth interactions as well. Moreover, many DSM residents find employers offer the work-life balance here they are looking for, presenting employees with the desired technology and flexible schedules to do so.

DSM is one of the fastest growing metros in the Midwest in terms of percentage of population growth, Real GDP growth and employment growth. It was recently named the #5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and this past summer, the National Association of Realtors named it a top 10 housing market for millennials during the pandemic. It makes sense. DSM offers so many amenities to its residents. From arts and culture tours and events (including this year’s many robust virtual offerings — DSMO at Home, Mindful Meditation in the Garden, Des Moines Art Center virtual tours, to name a few ) to increasing trails systems and recreation options like the Beaver Creek Water Trail, the region continues to achieve in 2020, with no signs of stopping in 2021.


Transportation around DSM and its proximity to other major Midwest cities is a key part of why the region is a triple-A city. Commute times average 20 minutes or less, meaning more of your time is your own, allowing you to experience DSM attractions and events more often with friends and family. When rush hour is minutes instead of hours, your daily commute can be spent without the additional stress. DSM is ahead of the curve on sustainability efforts, too. Read about DART’s first all-electric, zero emissions buses, which are a step towards a healthier community.

As stated above, business leaders are also accessible here, willing to help in your personal and professional growth. Just take a look at how DSM leaders have opened up about facing challenges in business, offering key insights to business owners navigating the COVID-19 pandemic through the Leading in Times of Challenge podcast. Those interested in volunteer leadership opportunities will also see less barriers than alternative places. It is not hard to get involved and make a difference here.


The affordable cost of living in DSM makes it an ideal place for people of all ages. Whether you are a young professional starting a career, have a family or ready to retire, DSM is an ideal place to call home. Consider this: In 2019, the DSM’s median home price of $173,000 was 28% less than the national median home price of $240,000.

You can check out the Cost of Living Calculator on The Partnership’s website to see how much more affordable DSM is than other cities, while the DSM USA Career Center can help you find employment opportunities within the area.

DSM is the place to reach higher levels of success and find your ideal quality of life. If you need any more reason to call DSM home, take a virtual tour of the region to see what is new and read about the diverse people here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

Mary Bontrager

Mary Bontrager serves as executive vice president of talent development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, where she leads efforts to recruit and retain talent to the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region. Bontrager currently serves on Grand View University Board of Trustees, Girl Scouts of Iowa Board, South Central Iowa STEM Advisory Council and several advisory committees for Future Ready Iowa.