Earlier this year, Reader's Digest published a list of the best and worst qualities of all 50 states. Curious about what Iowa's best and worst qualities are? We were, too.

Let's start with what Iowa is the BEST at. Reader's Digest reports that Iowa is actually the best state for purchasing a house! This is actually according to a study from WalletHub from January of this year. WalletHub's list of the 'Best & Worst States to Raise a Family' ranked Iowa as number 11 overall, but we were number ONE for the most affordable housing in the entire country! The Reader's Digest article says that the median price of a home in Iowa is around $181,900.

And now, the bad news. Iowa is apparently the worst state when it comes to bridges. The article from Reader's Digest states that 5,000 of our bridges have been deemed “structurally deficient” by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Now, the article they cite is from February of 2017, so I decided to see if there was any newer data that we could look at. The website 24/7 Wall Street published a list earlier this year using data from the 27th Annual Highway Report from April of 2023, and they rank us as number TWO, not number one, which means we're technically not the worst now. That position is held by West Virginia. West Virginia's percentage of structurally deficient bridges in 2021 was around 20.37%, while Iowa's was slightly lower at 18.87%.

Here are the best and worst qualities of some of our Midwest neighbors, according to the Reader's Digest report:

  • Illinois
    • Best: Pumpkins
    • Worst: Bug Bites
  • Minnesota
    • Best: Credit Scores
    • Worst: Winters
  • Missouri
    • Best: Giving to Charity
    • Worst: Drug Use
  • Nebraska
    • Best: Graduating High School
    • Worst: Road Rage
  • South Dakota
    • Best: Retirement
    • Worst: Child Mortality Rate
  • Wisconsin
    • Best: Raising a Family
    • Worst: Racial Equality

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Gallery Credit: Ryan Brainard

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