Des Moines, Iowa, City Facts and Higher Education Information

Des Moines is Iowa's largest city and the state capital. The city has a few colleges and universities, including several schools offering medical or health-based programs. Keep reading to find out about the population, economy and school options in Des Moines.

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Information about Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa's state capital, is located in Polk County, of which it also serves as county seat. About 209,220 people call Des Moines home, according to 2014 U.S. census estimates, and nearly 600,000 people live in the greater metropolitan area, making Des Moines the largest city in Iowa. The city lies along the banks of the Des Moines River, near the Red Rock and Saylorville Lake recreation areas. The area experiences average high winter temperatures of around 34 to 49 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average July high temperature is about 86 degrees. Summer days tend to be hot and muggy.

The Fort Des Moines Museum, which commemorates the site of the first Women's Auxiliary Corps and the first training facility for African-American officers in the American military, is located in the city. Other places of interest include the gold-domed capitol building, the Des Moines Art Center, the Center of Science and Industry and the state fairgrounds. The downtown area features a four-mile-long skywalk system, allowing office workers to travel between buildings without exposing themselves to the sometimes-extreme elements. Outside of town, a number of recreation areas and parks provide opportunities for outdoor activities.

Higher Education

Des Moines is home to 10 universities, career schools and colleges. The largest 4-year school in Des Moines is Drake University, a private school that has about 5,000 students. The university has 70 undergraduate program options and 20 graduate degrees, including Doctor of Pharmacy, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Education and Education Specialist programs.

The city has three medical- and healthcare-focused colleges, including Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center, Mercy College of Health Sciences and UnityPoint Health-Des Moines School of Radiologic Technology.

Other schools in the area include Grand View University and AIB College of Business. The largest school in the area is Des Moines Area Community College, which is found about 9 miles away in Ankeny and enrolls almost 24,000 students. It offers certificates and associate's degrees. A theological seminary is also located in Ankeny.

Economic and Employment

Des Moines is an industrial, transportation, cultural and government center for the Midwest. Some of its top employers are the Principal Financial Group, DuPont Pioneer and Unity Point Health-Des Moines. A well-developed financial services sector supports local insurance and finance operations, and related companies with offices in Des Moines include Wells Fargo and FBL Financial Group. Agricultural processing, printing and publishing and the manufacture of machinery, transportation equipment, metal and plastic products, apparel and textiles are also important for the region's economy.

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