With 17 area churches, a melting pot of cultures, and a history dating back to 1838, Harlan is a friendly, progressive community of 5,400 people. Residents of Harlan enjoy a high quality of life with an abundance of recreational and cultural activities. It is the seat of government for Shelby County Iowa, with the courthouse the focal point of the historic downtown area.
Harlan has one of the state's finest volunteer fire departments and one of the lowest crime rates in Iowa for cities between 5,000 and 10,000 population. The city is blessed with a strong street, utility, sanitation and park infrastructure as well.