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Des Moines, Iowa

This article is about the state capital of Iowa. For other places named Des Moines, see Des Moines (disambiguation).

Des Moines skyline at night
Des Moines skyline at night

Des Moines (pronounced in English, /demwan/ in French) is the capital city of the State of Iowa, founded in 1846. It is the county seat of Polk County. According to the 2000 census, the population of the city is 198,682.

Des Moines is located in the south central part of the state. The Des Moines River (from French Rivière des Moines, i.e. "River of the Monks") and Raccoon River meet just south of the downtown and serve as the city's primary water supply.

Many insurance companies are headquartered in Des Moines, including Equitable of Iowa , Allied Insurance , and American Republic Insurance Company .

The capitol building is one of only a few U.S. state capitol buildings with a genuine gold-covered dome.

Downtown Des Moines features a 3.5 mile-long (5.6 km) skywalk system, allowing people to travel between buildings without going out of doors.



Des Moines currently operates under a council-manager form of government. The council consists of a mayor (who, as of 2005, is Frank Cownie), two at-large members, and four members representing each of the city's four wards.

A plan to merge the governments of Des Moines and Polk County was rejected by voters during the November 2, 2004, election. The consolidated city-county government would have had a full-time mayor and a 15-member council that would have been divided among the city and its suburbs. Each suburb would have still retained its individual government but had the option to join the consolidated government at any time.


Location of DesMoines, Iowa

Des Moines is located at 41°35'27" North, 93°37'15" West (41.590939, -93.620866).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 200.1 km² (77.2 mi²). 196.3 km² (75.8 mi²) of it is land and 3.8 km² (1.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.88% water.

Metropolitan area

The Des Moines metropolitan area consists of five central Iowa counties: Polk, Dallas, Warren, Madison, and Guthrie. The area had a 2000 census population of 481,394. The Des Moines-Newton-Pella Combined Statistical Area consists of those five counties plus Jasper and Marion counties; the 2000 census population of this area was 550,659. (Before metropolitan areas were redefined in 2003, the Des Moines metropolitan area only consisted of Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties.)


Des Moines's suburbs include:


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 198,682 people, 80,504 households, and 48,704 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,012.0/km² (2,621.3/mi²). There are 85,067 housing units at an average density of 433.3/km² (1,122.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 82.29% White, 8.07% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.50% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.52% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. 6.61% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 80,504 households out of which 29.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% are married couples living together, 12.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.39 and the average family size is 3.04.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $38,408, and the median income for a family is $46,590. Males have a median income of $31,712 versus $25,832 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,467. 11.4% of the population and 7.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 14.9% of those under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Most residents of Des Moines get around the region by car. Interstate 235 cuts through the city, and Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 both pass through the Des Moines metropolitan area. U.S. Highway 65 and Iowa Highway 5 form a freeway loop to the east and south of the city. U.S. Highways 6 and 69 and Iowa Highways 28, 141, and 163 are also important routes to and within the city.

Des Moines's public transit system, operated by the Des Moines Metropolitan Transit Authority , consists entirely of buses, including regular in-city routes and express and commuter buses to outlying suburban areas.

Greyhound Bus Lines and Jefferson Lines run long-distance, inter-city bus routes to Des Moines. The nearest Amtrak train station is in Osceola, about 40 miles (64 km) south of Des Moines. Trains on the route that passes through Osceola, the California Zephyr, go east to Chicago and as far west as Oakland, California.

The Des Moines International Airport, located in the southern part of Des Moines, on Fleur Drive, offers non-stop service to destinations within the United States, including to major hub airports such as Chicago O'Hare, Atlanta Hartsfield and Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. Despite its name, there are no direct flights, as of 2005, between the airport and destinations outside of the United States.


Radio stations



  • WOI-FM 90.1, NPR Affilate (Generally music) Classical, Jazz, Public Broadcasting
  • KJJY 92.5, country music
  • KIOA "Oldies 93.3", oldies
  • KGGO 94.9, classic rock
  • KHKI 97.3 "The Hawk", country music
  • KBGG 98.3 "Wow FM", talk radio
  • KMXD 100.3 "My 100", mixture of 1980s, 1990s, and current hits
  • KSTZ "Star 102.5," hot adult contemporary
  • KAZR "Lazer 103.3," hard rock music
  • KLTI "Lite 104.1," soft adult contemporary
  • KDRB "106.3 the Bus," blend of classic hits, similar to Jack FM (changed from its previous hip-hop and R&B format on April 1, 2005)
  • KKDM 107.5 "Kiss 107 FM," current popular music

Television stations

  • WOI 5, local ABC affiliate
  • KCCI 8, local CBS affiliate
  • KDIN 11, local PBS affiliate, Iowa Public Television network flagship
  • WHO 13, local NBC affiliate
  • KDSM 17 local Fox affiliate
  • KPWB 23 local WB affiliate
  • KFPX 39 local PAX affiliate


Sports franchises

Colleges and universities

Notable natives

Points of interest

External links

Civic and cultural links

Other links

Last updated: 06-01-2005 19:44:00
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13