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City Summary - Des Moines, Iowa
Founded on September 22, 1851, Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa and serves as its capital. The city also functions as the seat for Polk County though a small part of it crosses into neighboring Warren County.

Des Moines has a population of more than 198,000, 73 percent of which consists of white residents. Hispanics are the largest minority group, accounting for 10.9 percent of the population. Roughly 9 percent of residents are African American, and 3.6 percent are of Asian descent. Germans comprise the largest ethic group in the city at 21.5 percent.

Finance is the largest industry in Des Moines, employing 11.7 percent of residents. The city serves as an important Midwestern center for banking and insurance. Principal Financial Group is the largest employer in the city with the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield also among the 10 biggest employers in the city. Other finance companies with headquarters or major offices in Des Moines include Marsh, EMC Insurance Group, Aviva, Holmes Murphy, American Republic Insurance, Wells Fargo and the ING Group. The thriving finance industry in Des Moines led to its previous ranking on the ratings of the best cities for business and finance careers published by "U.S. News and World Report."

Around 8.8 percent of residents in Des Moines work in health care with Iowa Health Care and the Mercy Health Network ranking in the top five largest companies in the city. Construction employs 6.7 percent of residents, while accommodation and food services account for 6.5 percent of all jobs.

The Des Moines Public School District operates the 63 public schools located in the city, providing education to more than 30,600 students. Des Moines also serves as home to Drake University and Grand View College. Simpson College, Upper Iowa University, William Penn University and Des Moines Community College all offer branches in the city as well. Overall, education employs 6.4 percent of Des Moines' population.

Among Des Moines' 51 neighborhoods, the East Village offers upscale lofts and condominiums in close proximity to the area's shops and restaurants. The Des Moines suburbs are currently undergoing major development, particularly Urbandale, where condominium, town-home and loft sales increased by 4 percent in 2010.

Des Moines has 53 public parks for residents to enjoy. The city has recently completed the first phase of its Principal Riverwalk, which features a walking trail, outdoor gardens and an ice-skating rink. The city is home to five sports teams: the minor league baseball Iowa Cubs, the arena football Iowa Barnstormers, the minor league basketball Iowa Energy, the amateur soccer Des Moines Menace and the junior ice hockey Des Moines Buccaneers.
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