Best Places to Live

Quad Cities, Iowa-Illinois (Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa & Moline-Rock Island, Illinois)

| Overall Score 6.5 / 10
| Overall Score 6.1 / 10

What's it like to live in the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

Profile written by local expert:

Megan Valley

Spanning two states over the Mississippi River, the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois can feel smaller than it is. Despite its name, the Quad Cities are composed of five cities: Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline, Illinois. Each is distinct, but with downtowns clustered along the same riverfront and collaborations across business, service and the arts, the area offers many of the amenities you’d expect from one larger city. 

There’s a bustling brewery scene, casinos and river cruises. Davenport alone is the third-largest city in Iowa. Rock Island’s historic downtown includes a pedestrian mall with a popular nightlife area known as The District.  

The Quad Cities is the largest metropolitan area on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis, and it’s three hours from Chicago and two and a half from Des Moines, Iowa.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Quad Cities, Iowa-Illinois (Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa & Moline-Rock Island, Illinois) is ranked:

#79 in Best Places to Live

#129 in Best Places to Retire

#6 in Cheapest Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Quad Cities, IA-IL Quick Stats

  • 382,720

    Metro Population

  • $47,220

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 39.7

    Median Age

  • N/A

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.2%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $746

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 19.8 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

The Quad Cities area boasts a thriving theater scene, with venues ranging from the small and intimate Black Box Theatre in Moline to the restored Adler Theatre in Davenport. The TaxSlayer Center brings in touring musical acts, as does the Rust Belt in East Moline, which opened in 2019. The area also has a ballet company, the Figge Art Museum, and The Putnam Museum & Science Center.

Summers, in particular, are packed with jazz and blues festivals and county fairs on both sides of the river. The John Deere Classic PGA Tour event and the Bix 7 run/walk bring in people from around the country and the world every summer.

The Quad Cities is home to professional sports teams including minor league hockey’s Quad City Storm, minor league baseball’s Quad Cities River Bandits and indoor football team the Quad City Steamwheelers.

What's the cost of living in the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

The Quad Cities are affordable on both sides of the river. Both Iowa and Illinois have average home prices lower than the national average, and Davenport, Moline and Rock Island have average home prices lower than the state averages. While property prices are good, both states have high taxes.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Davenport, Iowa, or Bettendorf, Iowa, or Rock Island, Illinois, or Moline, Illinois.

Value Index

Index Score: 8.3 /10

How we calculate this.

The Quad Cities offer a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Moline, IL, Rock Island, IL, Davenport, IA, Bettendorf, IA and East Moline, IL.

What's the weather like in the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

Winters are cold and snowy, and summers are warm and humid. The Mississippi River floods parts of Davenport almost every spring, but it’s not nearly as dramatic elsewhere in the metro area; Bettendorf and Rock Island have permanent flood walls.

What's the best way to get around the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

The Quad Cities offer bistate bus services, but routes are not comprehensive – especially on the Iowa side – and there can be lengthy waits and limited hours on the weekend. Most people commute by car, and they have relatively short commutes. 

While each downtown is walkable with shops and restaurants and there are many neighborhood schools, the Quad Cities have few places where grocery stores are accessible by foot, limiting the area’s walkability.

There are Greyhound bus stations in Davenport and Rock Island. 

Quad City International Airport in Moline offers flights to destinations across the U.S. through American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Allegiant Air.

Commuting in the Quad Cities, IA-IL

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

19.8 minutes

6.8 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in the Quad Cities, IA-IL?

The Quad Cities are changing, but not evenly. Scott County, Iowa – where Davenport and Bettendorf are located – and Rock Island County – where Moline and Rock Island are based – both have aging populations. But while Scott County is growing, Rock Island County is hemorrhaging residents. Meanwhile, Bettendorf is on pace to become larger than Rock Island within a few years and attracts a lot of families.  

There have been local efforts to attract young, educated professionals to the area.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in the Quad Cities as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.