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Story Starters

Get to know Greater Des Moines (DSM). Here are some of the major storylines.

1 Million – Get Ready, Here They Come!

DSM is growing, and fast. Since 2010, the Des Moines – West Des Moines metropolitan statistical area has grown by 18.6%, making it one of the fastest-growing metros in the country. That is faster growth than surrounding major Midwest metros including Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Louis. The population is projected to grow by another 50% by 2040, according to an analysis by the American City Business Journals, which would put the region at nearly 1 million in population. The current growth is in large part due to the region’s ability to attract and retain young professionals. Population growth has been particularly strong in the 25 to 34-year-old age group (16.7% growth since 2010).

Major Growth

DSM is experiencing tremendous economic growth. The region has experienced a real Gross Domestic Product growth of 32% since 2010, which is significantly higher than the U.S. GDP growth of 15.7% in the same time span. That growth has coincided with many important development projects in the community. In fact, there are typically more than 40 development projects underway in Downtown DSM alone. Major employers such as Principal and Wells Fargo have led efforts on major projects including the Principal Riverwalk and Wells Fargo Arena.

Embrace Key Industries

DSM is known as a strong region for insurance and agriculture. The community has embraced those key industries to lead to cutting-edge innovation and establish itself as a premier region to work or grow a business.

Des Moines is home to more than 80 insurance companies including Athene, American Equity Investment, EMC Insurance Companies, GuideOne Insurance, Holmes Murphy & Associates, Principal, Nationwide, Wells Fargo and Co., Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and many others. In 2014, the community hosted the first Global Insurance Symposium, a must-attend event for leaders in the industry. This event has drawn hundreds of attendees yearly and speakers from around the world. Also in 2014, the Greater Des Moines Partnership partnered to launch the Global Insurance Accelerator, a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry. The Accelerator has welcomed small business and startup owners from around the world to grow their businesses in DSM.

Iowa has a history of feeding the world through agriculture, and the Cultivation Corridor is the region's home for the science that feeds the world. Major companies including John Deere, Monsanto, Cortera Agriscience, Agriculture Division of Dow Dupont, Kemin and many more work to grow the agbio economy, and Iowa State University provides world class research in the agbio space. In 2016, The Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor launched the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, with the support of many business and community partners. This Accelerator hosts agtech companies from across the globe to advance innovation in agriculture.

The DSM USA “Cool” Factor

DSM has been recognized as a top city for young professionals, a top city to live and work and a top city for business. It is easy to see why. The region is home to world-class events and festivals such as the award-winning Downtown Farmers’ Market, the award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival® and music festivals galore, not to mention attractions for all ages. And it is all affordable. DSM has been widely recognized as one of the most affordable places to live in the United States.

Radical Cooperation

What is the “secret sauce” of DSM? As one national publication put it, “call it radical cooperation.” The region has a rich tradition of setting community visions such as Capital Crossroads, which has celebrated hundreds of successes in building the community. DSM strategic visioning plans don’t sit on a shelf; business, civic and community leaders come together to make things happen through cooperation, public private partnerships, business involvement and volunteering.