10 Cities That Embody the American Dream
Unemployment rate: 4.6%
Walk score: 51
P/I ratio: 2.22
Education Quality Index score: 80.58
Ames can seem like a bit of a one-horse town from a distance, but Iowa State University isn't such a bad horse to have pulling your economy. The university's connections to the Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center and the Department of Energy's Ames research and development laboratory have helped make the federal government one of the city's largest and most stable employers. Housing the state's Department of Transportation doesn't hurt Ames' employment situation, either, but it also hasn't done much to make it more convenient.
While Ames is one of the least-walkable American Dream cities, with 45% of its residents needing a car just to accomplish basic tasks, its downtown is a bit more dense and the Campustown neighborhood near ISU has all the apartments, bars and restaurants a student or post-collegian in arrested development could ask for.
To offset the inconvenience, Ames residents get a whole lot for very little. The median home price hovers around $164,000, while the median family income is near the top of our cities list at $74,000. The city, meanwhile, repays residents by providing the best-quality education of any of the 10 cities we've featured. Its Fellows Elementary School, Ames Middle School and Ames High School all got perfect scores from GreatSchools, which provides K-12 quality few of its peers can claim.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV