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People of DSM


Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a place where the people will always make you feel welcomed. It’s your neighbors, the barista at your favorite coffee shop and even the smiles from passing strangers that come together to create a welcoming community. In DSM, “Iowa Nice” isn’t just a saying — it’s a way of life. Here the people live the famed Midwestern values of respect, hard work and an appreciation for the simple things in life while enjoying a hip and vibrant cosmopolitan metro.


The DSM community is a melting pot of people from all walks of life who accept and embrace diversity. Comprised of all ages, with the fastest growing demographic being 25 – 34 years (U.S. Census Bureau), we understand the importance of family. Whether you’ve just started one or are looking to start one soon, we have what you need. Named as the #4 Best Place to Raise Kids (SmartAsset, 2021), DSM is home to world-class public and private school systems, family-friendly amenities and more. If you’re independent, we’ve got you covered too. Through innovative programs like Young Professionals Connection, your personal and professional growth is DSM’s mission. The community takes great care in making sure all others feel welcomed and empowered as fellow neighbors, coworkers, friends and citizens of DSM. Individual characters are not defined here but rather celebrated.

Foreign-Born Talent

Foreign-born talent is integral to DSM and ranks second in the nation for the fastest growing foreign-born population in the nation. Not only do they add to the culture of DSM, but they have also played a major role in the region’s thriving economic vitality. At Des Moines Public Schools, more than 120 different languages are spoken. Other districts throughout the region are actively teaching immigrant and refugee youth English and how to adapt to a new community, all while developing the critical skills needed for the labor market. 


Pride is strong in DSM. The DSM LGBTQ+ community has grown to be a leader in equality, even receiving recognition as a Top 5 LGBTQ Friendly Community by Vocativ. The annual Capital City Pride Fest is a 40-year-strong tradition that has been welcomed by the DSM community as a whole. The weekend long event brings DSM together for a celebration of LGBTQ+ culture. Capital City Pride hosts additional events throughout the year to further DSM’s vision as an LGBTQ+ friendly region. The city itself has organized an LGBTQ Advisory Council aimed at raising awareness, education and advocation for the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community.


The people of DSM hold a deep respect and dedication to the military and veterans. Whether active duty, national guard reservist or veteran, the community has pledged an unwavering support to providing the necessary amenities for comfortable living. Nearly every community in the region serves as a Home Base Iowa community and there are vast resources available to DSM military and veterans. Local organizations have even become involved in these efforts. Most recently, DSM-based Athene USA was recognized as the 2020 Military Friendly and Military Friendly Spouse Employer designation, the highest attainable recognition from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Accessible and Affordable

DSM’s affordable cost of living makes it the optimal place to live regardless of where you’re at in life. Whether you’re looking to take the next step in your career, in full stride with your career or are looking toward retirement, DSM can help you get there without breaking the bank. Often regarded as one of the main factors in determining where to live, the 2019 DSM median home price of $173,000 is 28% less than the national average. This trend is consistent throughout all of the region’s unique neighborhoods meaning you can pick the one that is perfect for you. Add to this the low commute times, low unemployment rates, low utility costs and abundance of things to do, and it’s no wonder why DSM continues to rank as the fastest growing major metro in the Midwest (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022).

Education and Future Ready DSM

The Partnership has been a proponent to further develop the region's cradle through career pipeline through Future Ready DSM. Future Ready DSM aims to ensure that 75% of Central Iowa adults have post-secondary degrees, certificates or other credentials by 2025 that align with workforce needs. The Partnership also supports the Governor's Future Ready Iowa initiative.


Giving is second nature to the people of DSM. Named as the #1 per capita giving city through United Way, DSM is the place where there are vast opportunities to get involved. Whether you want to serve on a board or volunteer at a nonprofit, the people of DSM are active in finding opportunities to encourage your passion.


United Way

United Way creates solutions for communities around the world that have lasting impacts. You can help create this impact right here in DSM by finding a volunteer opportunity through United Way.

Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines promotes charitable giving to improve quality of life by connecting donors to causes they care about and leaders to important community issues. See how you can give back with the Community Foundation.

Looking for more ways to give back in the community? Check out The Partnership’s volunteering resource list.

Additional Resources