Gilbert was named for George Gilbert, who owned the land upon which the town was built up.
Gilbert is located at 42°06′21″N 93°38′43″W (42.105858, -93.645185).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.1 square miles (23.57 km2), all of it land.
The landscape surrounding the city consists of rolling hills dotted with conventional farm buildings and livestock as well as row crop farming systems. Some suburban-style subdivisions lie a short distance to the south.
Gilbert's southern boundary is only two miles north of the Ames boundary that was extended when the Ada Hayden Heritage Park was developed. It is not difficult to look south from Gilbert and see buildings in Ames.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,082 people, 382 households, and 303 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,189.0 inhabitants per square mile (459.1/km2). There were 390 housing units at an average density of 428.6 per square mile (165.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.3% White, 1.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.
There were 382 households of which 49.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.5% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 20.7% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.22.
The median age in the city was 34.2 years. 32.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.1% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 6.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 987 people, 337 households, and 268 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,195.6 people per square mile (459.1/km2). There were 347 housing units at an average density of 420.3 per square mile (161.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.06% White, 0.71% African American, 1.52% Asian, 0.20% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.11% of the population.
There were 337 households out of which 48.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.7% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a single female head of household, and 20.2% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.30.
32.1% are under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 103.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $56,406, and the median income for a family was $61,184. Males had a median income of $35,313 versus $25,083 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,741. About 1.1% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
The Gilbert area is served by Gilbert Unified Community Schools (District). The Gilbert Community Schools consists of Gilbert Elementary, Gilbert Intermediate School, the Gilbert Middle School, and Gilbert High School. The grade structure is a K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 system.
The district covers 48 square miles. The enrollment has increased by more than 55% since 1990 with the number of students climbing to over 1,061 as of July 2006. Many students live in the northern part of Ames.
Enrollment in the district increased by eight percent during the 2005-2006 school year. The school board, anticipating that it will build another elementary school within a few years if the district continues to grow at its current pace, has obtained an option to buy 20 acres (81,000 m2) just west of Gilbert's residential area and on the north side of the main highway through town. If the current growth continues, the Gilbert schools will have more than 1,500 students in the fall of 2016.
Gilbert's mascot is the tiger.
Gilbert's basketball team was the 1995 Class 2A State Runner-Up, led by Eric Althaus & David Prochnow.
Gilbert's football team was the 2004 Class 2A State Runner-Up. Gilbert Tigers Wrestling team was the 1995-96 and 2008-09 Conference Champions and Conference Dual team Champions. The 2013 Gilbert football team reached the state quarterfinals. Both Football and wrestling teams are led by Coach Scott Auderer.
Gilbert's golf team was the Class 2A state runner-up in 2008. Winning the state meet was Ryan McKilligan as an individual. The team is coached by Holly Lester.
The Gilbert marching band, which plays at all home football games, is headed by Byron Tinder.
The main east-west road through Gilbert is county highway E23. A Union Pacific rail line goes north and south through the city. Van transportation is provided by the Heartland Senior Services of Story County.