The greater Des Moines, Iowa area, which spans five counties, has a population of 422,454 as of 2005. The three largest cities in the area are Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny, with populations of 196,093, 51,699, and 31,144, respectively. Des Moines is home to the Living History Farms, which is a series of historical farm recreations that together comprise the largest outdoor museum in the country.
In 2004, this area of Iowa posted an average personal income of $36,384. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average Greater Des Moines resident earns just about 10% more than the average American. Average income has grown 7.6% over the past 35 years, which is slightly higher than the national average.
Des Moines' employment picture is highly focused on finance:
- Greater Des Moines is known as a finance and insurance hub, with approximately 16% of its work force in those two industries. These industries are likely to stay healthy in Des Moines for a long time.
- The top two employers in the area are Principal Life Insurance and Wells Fargo Bank.
- Like many other metropolitan areas, the manufacturing industry in Des Moines took a hit around 10 years ago but has steadily recovered to earlier levels.
A recognizable trend in the area is the resurgence of the Des Moines downtown area. New condo complexes dot the landscape, and this new influx of people has encouraged a revitalized entertainment district.
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