State institutions are the largest employers in Ames, given that both the state's land grant university, Iowa State University, and the state Department of Transportation have large installations in Ames.
Other area employers includ Sauer-Danfoss, a hydraulics manufacturer; Barilla, a pasta manufacturer; Pella, a window manufacturer; and Ball, a manufacturer of canning jars and plastic bottles. Other governmental agencies with a significant presence include the United States Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.9 km² (21.6 mi²). 55.9 km² (21.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.09% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 50,731 people, 18,085 households, and 8,970 families residing in the city. The population density is 908.1/km² (2,352.3/mi²). There are 18,757 housing units at an average density of 335.7/km² (869.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 87.34% White, 2.65% African American, 0.15% Native American, 7.70% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.76% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. 1.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 18,085 households out of which 22.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% are married couples living together, 5.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% are non-families. 28.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 2.85.
In the city the population is spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 40.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 13.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 24 years. For every 100 females there are 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 109.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $36,042, and the median income for a family is $56,439. Males have a median income of $37,877 versus $28,198 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,881. 20.4% of the population and 7.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 9.2% are under the age of 18 and 4.1% are 65 or older.\n