These Are The 10 Places In Iowa With The Best Work-Life Balance

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 3 years ago
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Everyone knows those people that sacrifice their personal life in pursuit of their career. The ones that get to work before everyone and stay late on Friday nights.

And then there are the people that have a better sense of the important things in life, namely not work. These are the people that put a premium on things that happen outside the office and appreciate a good work–life balance.

We at Zippia decided to look at data from the most recent American Community Survey from the Census Department to identify which of the 83 biggest places in Iowa have mastered the art of not bringing work home with them and living a balanced life style.

After getting home early to take the kids to a baseball game, we were left with this set of ten places in the Hawkeye State that have the best work–life balance:

  1. Orange City
  2. Sioux Center
  3. Pella
  4. Waverly
  5. Sheldon
  6. Iowa Falls
  7. Shenandoah
  8. Decorah
  9. Creston
  10. Atlantic

Read on to see how we identified the towns that have prioritized their lives appropriately.

How We Determined The Places In Iowa With The Best Work–Life Balance

There are certain characteristics that all workaholics share. Namely, they put the job above all else and derive part of their identity from it.

They are the busy boasters, the ones that don’t mind putting in the extra hours. So we just had to figure out the data describes them and find the places that have the least amount of the workaholic syndrome.

With that in mind, we identified this set of criteria from the American Community Survey:

  • Commute time (Shorter is better)
  • Hours worked per week(Shorter is better)
  • % Of Married Households (Higher rate is a better work–life balance)

Basically, if you don’t waste time getting to and from work, work less, and have a family, you’re on the road to work–lie balance.

We then ranked each place from one to 83 for each criteria, with one being the best in any given category.

Finally, we took the average rank across all criteria, with the place posting the lowest overall score earning the title “Place with the Best Work–Life Balance in Iowa”.

Read on to learn the specifics of the ten places in the Hawkeye State that are at home relaxing right now.

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1. Orange City

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,101
Average Hours Worked: 34
Average Commute Time (mins): 11

The city of Orange City has taken the ideals of a great work life balance and implemented them to its fullest extent.

The county seat of Sioux County takes the top seat on our list of places with the best work–life balance.

The key to the city’s success is a short commute (3rd lowest in the Hawkeye State) and a bunch of time for leisure (7th lowest hours worked). Combine that with an above average focus on family and you have a place that values its off time as much as its work time.

2. Sioux Center

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Topix

Population: 7,142
Average Hours Worked: 36
Average Commute Time (mins): 11

Sioux Center ranks as the second best place for work–life balance.

It’s the place where the “Summer Celebration” happens and where a group called the “pork feeders” exists. There’s recognition that there’s work and then there’s a life to live.

The city ranks well for it’s short commute and low hours worked. In fact, it had the same work–life score as Orange City, but slightly more hours worked broke the tie.

3. Pella

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,346
Average Hours Worked: 34
Average Commute Time (mins): 12

The largest city on the list, Pella ranks as the third best place in Iowa to find work–life balance.

The city takes pride in it’s leisure time with an annual Tulip Festival to celebrate it’s Dutch heritage and the popular Pella Opera House.

When it’s not singing and dancing, Pella enjoys the the ninth shortest commute and sixth shortest work week of any place in Iowa.

4. Waverly

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,949
Average Hours Worked: 36
Average Commute Time (mins): 14

Take a load off and ride the waves in Waverly, the fourth best place for work–life balance in Iowa.

The city ranked especially well on the average hours worked per week front coming in at eighth overall in the Hawkeye State.

5. Sheldon

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Earthlink

Population: 5,047
Average Hours Worked: 39
Average Commute Time (mins): 11

Sheldon makes the best places for work–life balance list in position number five.

The smallest place on the list, the town has the town feel where people are able to balance the working life with time at home.

Sheldon ranked well for it’s short commute time and percentage of married households.

6. Iowa Falls

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,209
Average Hours Worked: 36
Average Commute Time (mins): 13

The “scenic city” took the relaxing route to the sixth spot on our list of the best places for work–life balance in Iowa.

The first appearance of a Hardin County city on the list, Iowa Falls ranked well for its short commute time and limited number of hours worked per week.

That leaves more time to take in the small town charm or a movie at the historic movie theater in town.

7. Shenandoah

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,125
Average Hours Worked: 38
Average Commute Time (mins): 15

Shenandoah ranks as the seventh best place for work–life balance in Iowa.

You know you have a solid work–life balance when the business district comprises a Shirt Works and a cabinet store.

The city ranked in the top 30% of places in Iowa for each criteria across the board.

8. Decorah

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,109
Average Hours Worked: 30
Average Commute Time (mins): 9

The eighth best place in Iowa for work–life balance goes to Decorah.

The city has the bragging rights to the single best commute time in the Hawkeye State and the lowest number of hours worked. Now, if it could just get some more married households in the city it would be top of the charts.

9. Creston

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,847
Average Hours Worked: 38
Average Commute Time (mins): 12

Creston places ninth on our list of the best place in the Hawkeye State for work–life balance.

The city actually tied Decorah and Atlantic on the work–life balance score, but lost to Decorah on the tie breaker of hours worked per week.

Still the small city in Union County knows how to balance work with the finer things in life.

10. Atlantic

Best Work Life Balance In Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,025
Average Hours Worked: 39
Average Commute Time (mins): 13

And rounding out the top ten best places for work–life balance goes to Atlantic.

The county seat of Cass County can brag about its short commute times to and from work because at the end of the day no one likes the time spent on the commute.

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