Introduction to West Des Moines, Iowa

West Des Moines, Iowa, in Polk county, is located 5 miles W of Des Moines, Iowa (center to center) and is 117 miles E of Omaha, Nebraska. The people of the city are in the Des Moines metropolitan area. West Des Moines has a population of 46,403.

West Des Moines History

West Des Moines was originally inhabited by the Sac and Fox Indians. In its early years, the city served as a trading and shipping junction. On October 9, 1893, it was incorporated as the city of Valley Junction. It was home to the switching facilities of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. It was renamed to West Des Moines on January 1, 1938. During the 1990s and 2000s, the city expanded into Dallas County. It also annexed land in Warren County in 2005.

West Des Moines and nearby Attractions

  • Historic Valley Junction
  • Blank Park Zoo
  • Historic Jordon House
  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Des Moines Botanical Center
  • Walnut Woods State Park

Things To Do In West Des Moines

West Des Moines is home to many parks and open spaces including the Nineteenth Street Park, Ashawa Park, Fairmeadows Park, Meadow View Park, and Florer Park. The Ponderosa Public Golf Course, Glen Oaks Country Club, and Des Moines Golf and Country Club are the ideal destinations for golf lovers. One can enjoy shopping at the Valley West Mall and Westown Shopping Center. The Des Moines Botanical Center and Blank Park Zoo are also close by.

West Des Moines Transportation

Des Moines International Airport is nearby.

West Des Moines Higher Education

Drake University, Iowa State University, and Des Moines Community College are some of the nearest universities and colleges.


Total Population 61,266
Male Share of the Population 50.1%
Female Share of the Population 49.9%
Senior Citizens 11.2%
Employed Population 16+ 34,704
Age of the Population 34


% of people married 54.2%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 53.2%
Median Earnings25+ $47,385
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $23,603
Median Earnings With High School Degree $31,937


Median Family Income $90,035
% Above Poverty Level 92%
% Below Poverty Level 8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 3.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 0.8%
% Using Public Transportation 1.1%


People Living Alone 30.6%
Median Gross Rent $897
Median House Value $188,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 20.1%
US/American 0.1%
English 9.8%
Irish 13.3%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

West Des Moines Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 5 miles W of Des Moines, Iowa (center to center)
Nearest Large City 117 miles E of Omaha, Nebraska
County Polk
Metro Area Des Moines
Standard Zip Codes 50061, 50263, 50265, 50266
Company Zip Codes 50391, 50398
Phone Area Codes 515
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.577
Longitude -93.711

West Des Moines Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 3.8 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 29 F
Apr Temp 40 to 61 F
Jul Temp 66 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 34.7 inches
Distance 22.2 miles
Jan Temp 9 to 29 F
Apr Temp 37 to 61 F
Jul Temp 64 to 84 F
Oct Temp 40 to 64 F
Annual Precip 34.3 inches
Distance 35.1 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 29 F
Apr Temp 38 to 61 F
Jul Temp 65 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 35 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, West Des Moines, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Orillia (50061)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Clive 16,634 $113,935
Cumming 435 $116,786
Des Moines 208,020 $56,196

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

West Des Moines Public Libraries

West Des Moines Public Library
West Des Moines, Iowa
(515) 222-3400
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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West Des Moines High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

1140 35TH ST
Serves 1,798 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.4

A Non-traditional School
Serves 187 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.9

Additional Details
West Des Moines Colleges
West Des Moines colleges and trade schools.
Study Online in West Des Moines

Career and College Resources

Real-World Career Reports
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Info for West Des Moines Government Officials

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