Awards & Recognition

Thriving Community logo

Dubuque Named an Iowa Thriving Community

Dubuque was named to the inaugural group of Iowa Thriving Communities, a new program from the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).  

The program recognizes cities around the state that utilize innovative solutions to enhance their housing offerings to residents of all income levels. Read more

America In Bloom Logo

America in Bloom - Growing Vibrant Communities

Dubuque received top honors including the Over 35,000 Population Category Award and an All-America Selections Showcase Garden Award. Dubuque’s participation in the 2022 National Awards Program was part of a $25,000 AIB/CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up grant the City received for the Re-Imagine Comiskey Park Redevelopment Project to be used for trees, native forbs, grass seed, shrubs, and flowers. 

Mission Lifeline Logo

American Heart Association’s 2022 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award

The Dubuque Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s 2022 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award  for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. For more information on Dubuque Fire Department EMS, visit

Human Rights Campaign

Score of 100 on 2021 Municipal Equality Index

Dubuque scored 100 on the 2021 Municipal Equality Index, issued by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute. The index is a ranking of municipalities across the country based on the inclusiveness of their laws, policies, and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) residents.

Since 2012, the HRC has issued the annual Municipal Equality Index, ranking cities on a scale from zero to 100 based on 44 criteria covering non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city leadership’s public position on equality. 2021 marks Dubuque’s fourth consecutive year with a score of 100. Dubuque’s score of 100 is significantly higher than the national city score average of 67 points.

All America City

All-America City - 2019, 2017, 2013, 2012, 2007

Dubuque was named an All-America City by the National Civic League five times in just 12 years! The National Civic League All-America City Award celebrates the best in local innovation, civic engagement, and cross-sector collaboration, the award reminds us that every community can create real change. The projects for which Dubuque received this distinction each year are:

2019:Inclusive Dubuque, Imagine Dubuque, Community Health Impacts, Bee Branch Creek Restoration, and Dubuque Eats Well Coalition

2017:Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading 

2013:Veteran-Oriented Programs, Workforce-Development Efforts, and the Historic Millwork District Revitalization

2012:  Plan to Improve Third-Grade Reading

2007: America's River Project, Downtown Master Plan, and Crescent Community Health Center

The Waterfront Award

2021 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award

The City of Dubuque received a 2021 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award from The Waterfront Center for the Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project. Dubuque was one of eight award winners from across the world including projects in Canada, The United Kingdom, China, India, and U.S. cities including Juneau, Seattle, and Lewis County, Washington. To learn more about the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project, visit For more information on The Waterfront Center, visit  

USA Today logo

Dubuque Named One of the Best American Riverwalks - 2020

USA Today has named Dubuque #8 on its list of Best American Riverwalks, as chosen by USA Today readers and 10Best. Visit USA Today's website for more information.
Preservation Magazine

Dubuque Featured in Preservation Magazine - 2018

Dubuque was featured in a nine-page article entitled “Heart and Soul” in the fall issue of Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The article can be viewed HERE.

The publication’s cover features a photo of Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District and “Finding Dubuque:  An Iowa city rediscovers its sense of place.”  The article explores Dubuque’s current and past historic preservation efforts and projects.  The author said her visit to Dubuque “helped me understand the unusually deep and detailed public-private partnerships that are making Dubuque a model of economic development and community revitalization.”

LEED-Certified City - 2018

As one of the 75 STAR-certified cities and counties in the U.S., Dubuque was recently named a LEED-Certified City.  STAR stands for Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities. STAR Communities is a national framework for measuring and advancing local government’s environmental, economic and community efforts to achieve sustainability. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, for Cities is a program from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that advances healthy, green, and economically strong cities and communities.  
Iowa Great Places

Driftless North End Designated as Iowa Great Place - 2018

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has designated Dubuque’s Driftless North End as an Iowa Great Place for 2018. The designation for the area is new, but is a redesignation for the community.  Dubuque was originally recognized as an Iowa Great Place in 2007 and Steeple Square received the designation in 2017.   

The Iowa Great Places program provides designation and supports the development of new and existing infrastructure intended to cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of neighborhoods, communities, and regions in Iowa. In addition to designation and redesignation, Iowa Great Places can apply for funding this fall for projects that are tied to their community’s vision plan.

Leading Environmentalism and Forwarding Sustainability (LEAFS) Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 awarded the City of Dubuque the LEAFS Award in April 2018 for excellence in site reuse for the construction of the Jule Operations & Training Center at the former Peoples Natural Gas Co. EPA Superfund site.
US Conference of Mayors

Dubuque Receives Livability Award for Bee Branch Project - 2017

Mayor Roy D. Buol was awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project at the 2017 City Livability Awards in June 2017. The Conference of Mayors City Livability Program, sponsored by Waste Management, Inc., recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. Established in 1979, the City Livability Awards are given annually to ten mayors and their cities–a first-place award and four Outstanding Achievement Awards for cities under 100,000 population, and a first-place and four Outstanding Achievement Awards for cities of 100,000 or more inhabitants. Read News Release

One of 26 Metros to Completely Recover Jobs Lost During Recession - 2012

The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Dubuque as one of only 26 metros to completely recover jobs lost during the recession.

Most Livable Small City - 2008

Outstanding Achievement Award for Cities Under 100,000 Population. This award honors mayors and their city governments for developing programs that enhance the quality of life in urban areas. Presented by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
International Economic Development Council

Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol received the 2016 Leadership Award for Public Service and Northeast Iowa Community College President Dr. Liang Chee Wee received the 2016 Institutional Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  

Bee Branch Project Recognized for Excellence and Innovation in Clean Water Infrastucture

The Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project was recognized in late 2017 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for excellence and innovation in clean water infrastructure through the Performance and Innovation in SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) program. The creek restoration was one of just 28 projects by state or local governments, public utilities, and private entities that were recognized. Read News Release

Excellence in Economic Development Award - 2010

Dubuque earned the Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Public-Private Partnerships for the redevelopment of the Roshek Building. This program annually recognizes the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders.  Read News Release
National League of Cities

Dubuque Receives National Diversity Award - March 2016

The National League of Cities (NLC) selected Dubuque for its first place award in the 2016 NLC City Cultural Diversity Awards to the City of Dubuque for the City’s support of Inclusive Dubuque and its efforts to develop a community equity profile. Read News Release

Second-Place Honors in the City Cultural Diversity Awards - 2012

The National League of Cities' National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials awarded Dubuque second-place honors in its City Cultural Diversity Awards, which showcase examples of how cities achieve excellence in diversity. 

Dubuque Achieves 4-STAR Rating - May 2015

Dubuque was awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for national excellence today. Dubuque is just the third Iowa community and the 25th in the nation to achieve certification under the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR). Learn more at News Release

Named 2nd Most Relaxed Small City in America - January 2015

Movoto Real Estate lists Dubuque as the second most relaxed small city (populations between 50,000 and 60,000) in America based on the following criteria: commute time, unemployment rate, cost of living, crime, hours worked per week, population density, percent earnings spent on rent, number of massage businesses, yoga studios, and parks per capita.  Visit Movoto's website for more information.

#14 on "America's Best Small Cities To Move To" - 2013

MOVOTO Real Estate named Dubuque to it's list of "America's Best Small Cities To Move To."
White House Logo
White House Names Dubuque a "Climate Action Champion"
The White House has named Dubuque one of 16 Climate Action Champions, a diverse group of communities defining the frontier of ambitious climate action whose approaches can serve as a model for other communities to follow.
Read News Release
Intelligent Community Forum
One of the World's "Smart21 Communities"
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Dubuque as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. Dubuque is one of just five U.S. communities named to the list. This select group of communities is in contention for the prestigious designation of Intelligent Community of the Year in June 2015. Click here for more details.  Read News Release

One of the 10 Best American Cities to Work in Technology

The website has named Dubuque one of the 10 best American cities to work in tech.
Dubuque ranks ninth in a list topped by Omaha, Neb., a city boasting five Fortune 500 companies.

SmartAsset collected data on wages and cost of living for 200 cities, ranking them on pay for tech workers, percentage of tech workers in the workforce, and low cost of living indices. They collected data on average wages for all workers, average wages for tech workers and percentage of all workers who are employed in tech from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also looked at the cost of living index for each city from the Census Bureau. They then ranked the cities for three categories, giving high marks for high relative pay for tech workers, high percentages of tech workers in the workforce (representing high levels of opportunity in the field) and low cost of living indices. The total of these three rankings became the cities’ overall tech industry scores.
EPA National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2013
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Dubuque a recipient of its 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Competing in the “Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization” category, Dubuque was selected for revitalization efforts in the Historic Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood. The EPA produced a video featuring Dubuque’s efforts related to smart growth. The video will be shown at the awards ceremony and link is available at:

Read News Release
American City and County Magazine
America's Crown Community - 2013, 2009, 2003
Dubuque was one of only three cities in the country to receive this award. The award acknowledges the recent completion of Dubuque’s Water & Resource Recovery Center project, a three-year, $65 million upgrade of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.. Read News Release
Farmers Insurance
10th Most Secure Small City in the U.S. - 2013
Farmers Insurance named Dubuque to it's list of most secure small cities in the U.S. 
US Department of Commerce

Fastest-Growing Economy in Iowa in 2012, 27th Fastest-Growing Nationally - 2013

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis has named Dubuque the fastest-growing economy in Iowa and the 27th fastest-growing nationally (2012)

Excellence in Economic Development Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation-led Strategies - 2009

Dubuque received the award for its commitment to research-based, market driven economic development in helping grow the local economy. Read News Release

The Equality of Opportunity Project
Dubuque Soars in Upward Mobility
Recent findings from The Equality of Opportunity Project show that children raised in the greater Dubuque area are among the most likely in the nation to move upwards into a higher income class. The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, found that children who were born to parents in the nation’s lowest income quintile had a 17.9% chance of being in the highest income quintile before reaching age 30. This is well above the national average of 10.6% and, of the 741 metropolitan commuting areas examined, places Dubuque in the top 60.

When compared to similar-sized commuting areas with a population between 150,000 and 200,000, Dubuque ranks first out of 58, and by a sizable margin; Dubuque’s 17.9% likelihood is 2.1% greater than the next-highest probability, and is nearly double the national average of 9%. Dubuque ranks first among the ten largest cities in Iowa, also, with nearly a 3% higher probability than the next-largest city at 14%.

To view the study findings, click here.  
Kiplinger logo
Ten Great Places to Live - Kiplinger, July 2013
Dubuque was named to Kiplinger Personal Finance's list of 10 Great Places to Live for 2013.

The rankings place an emphasis on small and mid-size cities, considering metro areas with a population of 1 million or less that have good jobs, reasonably priced homes, decent schools and access to great health care, according to a news release.

Click here for more information.
Ash Center logo

Smarter Sustainable Dubuque Named to Top 25 Innovations in Government - Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, May 2013

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University has named Smarter Sustainable Dubuque as one of the Top 25 programs in this year’s Innovations in American Government Award competition. The Top 25 government initiatives represent the dedicated efforts of city, state, federal, and tribal governments and address a host of policy issues including crime prevention, economic development, environmental and community revitalization, employment, education, and health care. Read News Release
Milken Institute logo
Dubuque Named 10th "Best-Performing" Small Metro - 2013
The Milken Institute’s 2013 Best-Performing Cities Index, which ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth, ranks the Dubuque metropolitan area 10th out of 179 small U.S. metropolitan areas. Dubuque moved up 5 spots from 2011’s 15th place ranking. 

Ranked 14th in Nation "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" - Forbes, August 2013

Dubuque has scored another U.S. Top 20 recognition ranking 14th on Forbes’ list of “Best Small Places for Business and Career.”

The ranking took into consideration 12 metrics related to job growth (past and projected), costs (business and living), income growth over the past five years, educational attainment (college and high school) and projected economic growth through 2014. Click here for more information

#50 Among 179 Small Cities for "Cost of Doing Business" - 2013

Best Small City to Raise a Family - 2010

Dubuque was named the top-ranked city in the nation on Forbes’ list of “The Best Small Cities to Raise a Family.” The listing ranked cities with populations under 100,000 by quality-of-life measures that make living easier for families, such as education level, median household income, rate of home ownership, housing affordability, and average commute time. Click here for more information. 
Read News Release

#1 in the Nation among Mid-sized Cities for Projected Job Growth - 2010

Click here for more information

Site Selection Magazine
Named 5th in the U.S. in "Top Metropolitan Areas" - Site Selection Magazine, 2013
The nation’s leading publication for site-location and corporate real estate professionals has placed Dubuque with some elite company for business growth and expansion. Site Selection Magazine’s annual “Top Metropolitan Areas” places Dubuque at 5th in the U.S. for Metro areas with under 200,000 people.
100 Best Communities for Young People

100 Best Communities for Young People - 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007
The America's Promise Alliance 100 Best competition recognizes the 100 outstanding communities across America—large and small, rural and urban—that are the best places for young people to live and grow up.  Dubuque has been recognized for the honor in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Iowa Workforce Development
#1 in Iowa for Private Sector Job Growth - 2012, 2011, 2010
Iowa Workforce Development ranks Dubuque as #1 in Iowa for Private Sector Job Growth in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
The Atlantic Cities
#4 Among Overall Metros with the Biggest Average Annual Increases in Wages and Salaries - 2012
The Atlantic Cities named Dubuque as #4 among metros with the biggest average annual increases in wages and salaries.
Area Development Magazine
#3 Among Top 20 Midwest Cities - 2012
#7 Among Top 50 Small Cities - 2012
#6 Among Top 25 Small Cities in Economic Strength Factors - 2012
#16 Among Top 100 Overall Cities - 2012
#8 Among Top 25 Small Cities in "Recession Busting" Factors - 2012
Commonwealth Fund

#2 Among Top 10 Places for Healthcare - 2012
A study by The Commonwealth Fund looked at 43 indicators of health system performance in four major areas: access, prevention and treatments, costs and potentially avoidable hospital use, and health outcomes. Dubuque was named #2 out of the Top 10 Places for Healthcare.
Building Resilient Regions
Dubuque Ranks #5 for Resiliency - Building Resilient Regions, 2011
Dubuque was named one of the most resilient cities in the nation. The city was ranked fifth out of 361 cities nationwide in a study of resiliency capacity that evaluates a community's economic capacity to bounce back from adversity, strength of demographics, and community connectivity. 

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) Certificate of Achievement - 2022

This is the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The City has received this award for 34 consecutive years.  Read News Release

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award - 2021

The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. A Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation was given to City of Dubuque Director of Finance and Budget Jennifer Larson to recognize her primary role in preparing the award-winning budget. Read News Release


Top 20 in U.S. for Job Growth - 2011

The Dubuque metropolitan statistical area ranks 18th nationally, the only Midwestern region in the U.S. Top 20 job growth rankings by Moody's. Moody's analyzes the top 392 metro areas in the country. 
Connected World Magazine

Most Connected Locales in the U.S. - 2010

Dubuque was named one of the seven “Most Connected Locales” in the United States in 2010 by Connected World Magazine. 
LivCom Awards
International LivCom Awards, 3rd Place - 2010
Dubuque was named a third-place finalist and gold-standard community at the International Awards for Livable Communities (LivCom). Dubuque was the highest-ranked American city in the “whole city” award category for communities with populations of 20,000 - 75,000.  Read News Release
Fast Company Magazine logo

One of the Ten Smartest Cities on the Planet - 2010

Fast Company, a business magazine, recently named Dubuque number eight among their Top 10 Smartest Cities on the Planet. The magazine focused on IBM's impact on the city and the 2009 declaration that Dubuque would become the "first integrated, smart city" in America, with interlocking systems watching the interplay between water, electricity and transportation.

Dubuque was the only city in America on the list. 
Healthy Iowa Community

Healthy Iowa Community - 2010

Dubuque was awarded for its efforts in wellness, activity, programming, financial commitment, measurability and sustainability.  Read News Release
Iowa League of Cities

All-Star Community - 2010

Dubuque was one of five of Iowa’s 947 cities to be named a 2010 All-Star Community by the Iowa League of Cities. The project was recognized specifically for sustainability. The All-Star Community Award is one of the most prestigious honors presented by the League to cities.  Read News Release
NDRC Smarter Cities

One of 22 'Smarter Cities' in the U.S. - 2010

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) named Dubuque one of its “2010 Smarter Cities,” a list of 22 municipalities that are leading the way in green power, energy efficiency, and conservation.
Relocate America

Top 100 Places to Live - 2009

Awarded by to the Top 100 communities with visionary leaders, improving or thriving economies including housing & realization of "green" initiatives.