The 10 best college towns

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) conducted a study to determine what the best college towns are, based on a variety of factors.

Researchers at AIER built the ranking based on the economic conditions, demographics, and quality-of-life factors of college towns across America. More specifically, AIER based the list on variables which it thought were important for those considering geographic location as part of their college decision, such the youth unemployment rate, the cost of rent, access to arts and entertainment, and diversity.

Here are the top 10 best college towns, according to AIER:

1: Boulder, CO. This city scored high rankings from AIER for demographic and economic factors, as well as what AIER described as "perfect weather." AIER researchers credit the University of Colorado's flagship campus for a strong labor market in the city.

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2: Champaign-Urbana, IL. AIER gave high marks to this city for diversity and access to public transit. Specifically, the researchers applaud the city's high numbers of commuters who walk, bike, or use public transportation and the city's transportation initiatives such as "Bike Champaign!"

3: Flagstaff, AR. AIER characterized Flagstaff as having a "laid-back" culture with many options for entertainment, bars, and restaurants.

4: Ithaca, NY. AIER notes that Ithaca is among the smallest cities on the ranking, but argues that small size hasn't kept the city from developing a thriving arts scene.

5: Iowa City, IA. This city earned its spot for its high scores in diversity, education. AIER writes that the city also has an "artsy vibe" and "thriving nightlife."

6: Bloomington, IN. AIER praises Bloomington as extremely diverse, writing that you can sample cuisines from around the world at its many restaurants. According to AIER, the city is also home to a number of bookstores and entertainment venues.

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7: College Station, TX. AIER researchers awarded College Station high scores for entertainment and places to socialize, including restaurants and bars.

8: Manhattan, KS. AIER argues that the city is fairly "well-rounded," scoring fairly high for economic conditions, entertainment, diversity, and walkability.

9: Columbia, MO. This city boasts a highly educated and diverse population, according to AIER. Researchers also highlight the area's strong labor market.

10: Bloomington, IL. Young people may be attracted to this city for its low level of youth unemployment, AIER researchers write. They also note that the city earned high scores for arts and entertainment (AIER ranking, accessed 7/17).


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