Ames Chamber of Commerce

Awards & Accolades

Ames consistently garners national recognition for its favorable economy, business climate, cost of living and sense of community.  Whether you're looking to come to Ames to attend school, start your career, start a family or retire, you'll find the following accolades impressive. 

  • #1 - "The Best Affordable College Towns for Recent Grads—and Everyone Else" (SFGate, 2018)
  • #1 - "Best Cities for Working Parents" (SmartAsset, 2018)
  • Ames named an "Up-and-Coming Tech Hotspot" (Livability, 2018)
  • "Top 5 Small Metro Areas for Retirees to Age Successfully" (Investopedia, 2018)
  • "The Most Fitness Friendly Places of 2018" (SmartAsset, 2017)
  • "Best Public High School in the State" (24/7 Wall St., 2017)
  • #1 - "2017 Best Places to Live in Iowa" (Niche, 2017)
  • #1 - "The Top 10 Cities for Career Opportunities in 2017" (SmartAsset, 2017)
  • Story County named #8 "Top 10 Mid-Sized Communities for 2017" (Fourth Economy, 2017)
  • #1 - Silicon Prairie Rankings (Silicon Prairie, 2017)
  • Top Midwest City For Affordability & Livability (TurboTenant, 2017)
  • Best Cities for Successful Aging in the U.S. (The Milken Institute, 2017)
  • Top 10 Easiest Places in Iowa to Sell a Home (SmartAsset, 2017)
  • Ames named "Technology Community of the Year" (Technology Association of Iowa, 2017)
  • Top 5 Small Metro Areas for Successful Aging (NCOA, 2017)
  • "Top 3 Cities Where Job Growth is Happening" (NationalSwell, 2017)
  • Home of the "Best School District in Iowa" (Business Insider, 2017)
  • "Best School District in the State" (Niche, 2017)
  • "The 25 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs" #8 (Entrepreneur Magazine, 2017)
  • "Best Places to Live 2016" (MONEY, 2016)
  • "Best Performing Cities" #11 (Milken Institute, 2016)
  • "Best Small Cities for New Grads" (OnlineDegrees, 2016)
  • "Most Charitable Cities" (The Beacon, 2016)
  • #9 "Top 10 College Towns to Live In" (SmartAsset, 2016)
  • #8 "The Top 10 Cities for Career Opportunities in 2016" (SmartAsset, 2016)
  • #3 "The Healthiest Cities in America" (24/7 Wall St., 2016)
  • Iowa State University named "Best College in Iowa" (MONEY, 2016)
  • #3 "Best College Towns in America" (Business Insider, 2016)
  • #5 Medium Cities in "Top U.S. Cities for Public Transportation" (Save on Energy, 2016)
  • #3 "Best Farmers' Markets in Iowa" (Around Iowa, 2016)
  • #4 "Best Small Cities for Making a Living" (MoneyGreek, 2016)
  • U.S. City with the Lowest Unemployment Rate (Forbes, 2016)
  • #3 on "2015 Best-Performing Small Cities: Where America's Jobs Are Created and Sustained" list (Milken Institute, 2015)
  • #1 "College Cities and Towns in America" (American Institute for Economic Research, 2015)
  • ISU ranked 5th "Most Beautiful College Campus in the World" (Buzzfeed, 2015)
  • #7 "Top 10 Best City for Singles, 2015" (Livability.com, 2015)
  • #35  in “Top 100 Most Livable Cities in America” for 2016 (Livability, 2015)
  • #1 Healthiest City in the Country (24/7 Wall St., 2015)
  • #8, "Best Cities in America to Get a Job"  (Business Insider, 2015)
  • #1 "The Top 10 Places for EMTs and Paramedics," (Good Call, 2015)
  • Named one of the 15 Cities That Have Done the Best Since the Recession, (Bloomberg, 2015)
  • Ranked in the top 25 nationally for "Best Places for STEM Grads" (#23, Nerdwallet, 2015)
  • #8 "Best Towns for Millennials in America" (Niche Rankings, 2015)
  • #30 "Best Towns in America" (Niche Rankings, 2015)
  • #1 "Best Towns in Iowa" (Niche Rankings, 2015)
  • #1 "Towns with the Best Community in Iowa" (Niche Rankings, 2015)
  • #21  "Towns with the Best Community in America" (Niche Rankings, 2015)
  • Ames ranked 2nd on the list of "The Top 10 College Towns" (The Fiscal Times, 2015)
  • #5 on the "50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever" List (College Ranker, 2015)
  • #2 "Top U.S. Cities for Hipsters" (FindtheHome, 2015)
  • Ames ranked #2  "The 20 Best College Towns In America" (American Institute for Economic Research, 2014-2015)
  • #8 "Best Places to Live in America" (Money Magazine, 2014)
  • #30  in “Top 100 Most Livable Cities in America” for 2015 (Livability, 2014)
  • #7 on the list of  "The 10 Happiest Small Places In America" (Movoto, 2014)
  • #1 of the 10 Best College Towns 2014 (Livability, 2014)
  • #5 on the list of "The 50 Best College Towns in America" (Best College Reviews, 2014)
  • #14 "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2014)
  • Top 10 Safest Cities in Iowa (Movoto, 2014)
  • Top 10 Best College Towns To Live In (SmartAsset, 2014)
  • Ranked 51 out of 398 metro areas for "2014 Best Cities for Job Growth" (NewGeography, 2014)
  • 33rd  among 379  MSAs for Economic & Job  Growth in 2014 (Area Development, 2014) 
  • One of "The 7 Top Tech Hubs Among America’s Small College Towns" (The SpareFoot Blog)
  • U.S. City with the 3rd lowest unemployment rate (Forbes, 2014) 
  • Ames ranked #2 in "The 20 Best College Towns In America" (American Institute for Economic Research, 2013-2014)
  • #31 "Top 100 Most Livable Cities in America" (Livability.com, 2013)
  • #10 "10 Cities Where You Want to Walk to Work" (MSN Real Estate, 2013)
  • #15 "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2013)
  • No. 25 in metro areas with the highest ratio of tech start-ups compared to the national average (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2013)
  • #2 city for work-life balance in the United States (NerdWallet, 2013)
  • 5th Smartest City in America (Luminosity, 2013)
  • 38th  among 380 MSAs for Economic & Job  Growth in 2013 (Area Development, 2013) 
  • One of the top 25 Best Places to Retire in 2013 (Forbes.com, 2013)
  • 2nd on American Institute for Economic Research’s Top 10 College Destinations List (AIER, October 2012)
  • 2012 Healthy Iowa Community Award (Wellness Council of Iowa)
  • Iowa State University ranked as one of the Best Colleges 2013 (U.S. News)
  • Ames-based Renewable Energy Group makes Inc. Magazine's list of 500 fastest growing companies in U.S. (Inc. Magazine, 2012)
  • 90th of 100 Best Places to Live (CNN Money Magazine, 2012)
  • Most Favorable City in Iowa (Public Policy Polling, July 2012)
  • 11th Best City for Aging (Milken Institute, July 2012)
  • Ranked 6th among Area Development's Top 20 Midwest Cities (Area Development, 2012)
  • 30th among the Top 100 Leading Locations for 2012 (Area Development, 2012)
  • 15th 'Prime Workforce Growth' among Top 25 Small Cities (Area Development, 2012)
  • 25th Best Place for New College Grads, 2012 (TheAtlanticCities.com, 2012)
  • 56th Best Small City for Job Growth (out of 243 U.S. cities) (NewGeography.com, 2012)
  • Top 8 Places to Retire in the Midwest (Where to Retire, 2012)
  • 13th Geekiest City in the U.S. (Forbes.com, 2011)
  • Fifth Fastest Growing Small City in the U.S. (Forbes.com, 2010)
  • Seventeenth Best Small Place for Business & Careers (Forbes.com, 2010)
  • Ninth Best Place to Live in the United States (CNNMoney.com, 2010)
  • Named 100 Best Communities (America's Promise Alliance, 2010)
  • Fourth Best College Town Under 250,000 Residents (American Institute for Economic Research, 2010)
  • Ranked 15th Brainiest Metro (American Social & Economic Theorist Richard Florida, 2010)
  • Most Affordable Cities for Data Security for Banks (The Boyd Co., 2010)
  • Best Places to Launch a Business (CNNMoney.com, 2009)
  • Best Places to Raise Your Kids (Business Week, 2009)
  • Top 15 Cities for Commuters (US News, 2009)
  • Top 5 Places to Live a Stress-Free and Simpler Life (AARP, 2009)
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