Altoona Community Guide
Altoona has been called the best little town in the metro. In 2017, the official population was listed at 18,699. It also prides itself with one of the lowest city tax rates of the metro area.
In addition to comfortable living, Altoona provides convenience. Located in Polk County, it is conveniently located 5 miles from Des Moines and only 20 minutes from the Des Moines International Airport. Altoona offers a small town feel with big city attractions. It is home not only to the newly constructed Des Moines Outlets but also to Adventureland and Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Altoona also provides beautiful bike trails, a new aquatic center, and ample shopping and a variety of restaurants.
Come and see why this small town with a big city feel could be the perfect place for you and your family.
Who Lives Here
Altoona has a young population. The median age is 34 which is approximately 10% lower than the Iowa average of 38. The Midwest roots run deep in Altoona. 78% of the residents were born in Iowa and 19% were born out of state (1% were born outside of the United States and 2% were foreign-born).
65% of the population are married. The largest Altoona racial/ethnic groups are White (92.3%) followed by Hispanic (3.8%) and Two or More (2.0%).
The median income for households in Altoona, Iowa is $72,398, while the mean household income is $87,748. The per capita income is $33,199, and 7.5% of families and 7% of individuals are below the federal poverty line. 7.1% of those under 18 are in poverty, and 5.1% of those 65 years or older.
Similar to other neighboring metropolitan towns, Altoona has experienced steady growth for several decades. Altoona has shown a 9% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a 4% rise in median rent per month. 82% of the city’s population are homeowners.
The vacancy rate was 2.9%, with a median rent of $1350/month. The median house has 5.6 rooms, and the median home sale price was $228,500.
38% of Altoona’s population has at least some college education up to a graduate degree. Altoona (along with nearby Runnells, Mitchellville, and parts of Pleasant Hill and Des Moines) is a part of the Southeast Polk Community School District, and its students attend Southeast Polk High School. Its high school graduation rate remains above the state average at 98%.
Altoona is home to four of the eight elementary schools in the district: Altoona, Centennial, Clay, and Willowbrook. Until joining the Southeast Polk consolidation in 1962, the current Altoona Elementary building also served as the town’s high school.
Altoona’s location within the metro provides its residents with convenient access to many state parks and trails. With one of Iowa’s most popular firework displays, to the newly installed Des Moines Outlets and miles of outdoor trails, there are activities for the whole family to enjoy in Altoona.
Trails: site for all trails in area
City Parks: parks and rec website
With plenty of shopping, Adventureland Park, and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona provides entertainment options for everyone.
Annual events: Altoona’s events calendar
Since 2008, Jethro’s BBQ has been a local favorite. Now with six locations (not including the Ames, IA location) scattered across the Des Moines metropolitan area, Altoona is proud to be home to Jethro’s Smokehouse Steaks. If you’re not in the mood for BBQ, try Sugar Shack, a hometown favorite serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Altoona provides dining options for every meal of the day, the perfect spot to catch the game, or to celebrate a big event. We’re certain the following favorites will become yours as well. [see the links below]