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Q&A: How does Omaha NE compare to Des Moines IA?

by tom44 on June 27, 2013

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Question by J!M: How does Omaha NE compare to Des Moines IA?
I read on that both cities ranked in the top ten for places to relocate. I’m curious to hear from ppl who live in these cities. Thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by Zack Mall

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3 thoughts on “Q&A: How does Omaha NE compare to Des Moines IA?

  1. Ben says:

    uh its bigger than des moines more stuff to do

  2. pokerjoev says:

    It’s south.

  3. Mike says:

    Omaha is bigger (880k) and just a little bit more urban than Des Moines (570k), but it’s also quite a bit further from Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City. Both Omaha and Des Moines need to be looked at as a Metropolitan Area (MSA), not just the urban core city. Both are good cities for raising families, but lack a lot of the entertainment options that young people look for.

    Some people say Omaha is more urban. That’s like saying Ke$ ha is more hip-hop than Katy Perry. Neither city is particularly urban. Both cities are stuck in the middle of the USA, not close to any real tourism or entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve lived in both cities. You can get a taste for big-city life in both. We’ve got restaurants with former NYC chef’s that’ll charge you $ 50 a plate plus $ 300 per bottle of wine. Des Moines Convention Center is run by a former Broadway manager who gets little ole’ Des Moines first-run reviews out of New York quite frequently. Omaha has buku cash with Warren Buffet and his cronies – the city has highest the largest cluster of multi-millionaire physicians in the USA.

    There are downsides. Omaha has more poverty than Des Moines, which means more crime and drugs. Des Moines does not have a real university. The two biggest colleges in DM are small private schools, while Omaha has a large branch of U-Nebraska with all of the hospitals. On healthcare, both cities are strong. Omaha has one of the top-10 transplant centers in the USA, Des Moines has one of the top 10 children’s cancer centers. Neither city has any real pro sports, college sports are popular in both states. Iowa Cubs are feeder team for Chicago – which is like being Jennifer Garner’s stunt double – people have heard of the B-string person you work for, and otherwise big-deal.

    Demographically both cities are largely white, middle class Americans. Omaha has more Asian due to the university, Omaha also has more minorities due to the meat-cutting businesses and rail-yards. But when I say more minorities – they still have a lower proportion than Fresno. We’re not talking a real multicultural city here.

    Economically both cities do well because they are so middle class. Both cities rate in the top 20 for two-income households. Both cities have relatively low cost of living driven by the very low food-prices in the Midwest, short commutes and affordable homes. Wages are very low for college-educated people, which is what holds unemployment down. For a person with a 4-year degree, they are about 5% below the national average. For a MS or professional degree, about 10% below. Lawyers are about 15% below and doctors up to 20% below national average wages. Des Moines is among the lowest 10 cities in the USA for doctors wages because of Des Moines Oseopathic College, the 2nd largest holistic/DO school. Most people don’t even know that you can be a real doctor without being an MD, DO’s are the ‘other’ kind of real doctor. And DO’s are generally general-practice docs who charge less than specialists, leaving a lot of low-cost docs in central Iowa.

    Omaha MSA – Pros
    Better for military (Offutt Air Base / SAC)
    Better for tech jobs (First Data, Gateway, Intuit, Paypal)
    Has a public university and medical school

    Des Moines MSA – Pros
    Better for raising a family (less crime, better schools, shorter commute)
    Better for finance jobs (Wells Fargo, Principal, Aviva, Wellmark BCBS, Rain and Hail)
    Just a few hours drive from real cities – Minneapolis & Chicago

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