2012 AIER College Destinations Index Ranks 75 Best U.S. Cities and Towns for College Students

The AIER College Destinations Index includes the top 75 towns and cities in the United States for college students, based on a larger evaluation of the 227 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with student populations of 15,000 or more.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend
2012 AIER College Destinations Index Rankings

2012 AIER College Destinations Index Rankings

"The 'college experience' is about more than simply attending a top-notch university. The city or town where the school is located also is important."

Great Barrington, MA (PRWEB) October 01, 2012

The “college experience” is about more than simply attending a top-notch university. The city or town where the school is located also is important, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) suggests in its 2012 “AIER College Destinations Index” (AIER CDI).

The AIER CDI includes the top 75 towns and cities in the United States for college students, based on a larger evaluation of the 227 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with student populations of 15,000 or more.    

In creating the Index, a dozen factors are evaluated using the most current data available from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Science Foundation, and Small Business Administration to provide a snapshot of each community’s overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities in the area.

“At a time when approximately half of current college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, the pros and cons of a particular college destination should be an important factor in making a college selection,” said Julie Zhu, the AIER research analyst who oversaw compilation of the Index.

The top 75 college destinations – grouped by total residential populations – are charted here: http:/bit.ly/AIERCDI

Share the AIER CDI on Twitter and Facebook!

Suggested Tweet: “.@AIER College Destinations Index ranks top 75 cities/towns for college students. Did your city make the cut? http:/bit.ly/AIERCDI"

Suggested Facebook Post: “AIER College Destinations Index ranks top 75 cities and towns to live in if you’re a college student. Did your city make the cut? http:/bit.ly/AIERCDI"

These cities topped the AIER College Destinations Index based on the destination’s performance across the following 12 areas:

Academic Environment:
Student Concentration: number of college students per 1,000 population
Student Diversity: percentage of student body that are non-U.S. residents
Degree Attainment: percent of the 25-to-34-year-old population with bachelor’s degree or higher

Quality of Life:    
Cost of Living:     based upon average rent for a two-bedroom apartment
Arts and Leisure: number of cultural and entertainment venues per 100,000 population
City Accessibility: percentage of workers over age 16 who commute on foot or by public transportation or bicycle
Creative Class: percentage of workforce in the arts, education, knowledge industries, science, engineering, management, other fields

Professional Opportunities:    
Earning Potential: income per capita
Entrepreneurial Activity: net annual increase in total number of business establishments per 100,000 population
Unemployment Rate: percent of labor force without jobs but actively seeking jobs within the last four weeks
Brain Gain/Drain: year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degrees living in the area

According to Steven Cunningham, AIER Director of Research and Education, “The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement and tourism. A top AIER College Destinations Index ranking should be just as important to the town or city as it is to the schools located there and the families and students attending or considering them.”

Complimentary electronic copies of the complete AIER College Destinations Index analysis and companion brochure are available from AIER’s website, http://www.aier.org/cdi. Print brochures are available at no cost by emailing info@aier.org.

High and low resolution image files of the AIER CDI logo and charts also are available by request.

# # #

Founded in 1933, the nonprofit American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) conducts independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of the nation.

The American Institute for Economic Research began publishing the AIER College Destinations Index in 2008, taking over from Collegia, a regional planning organization in Wellesley, Mass., which had published the index since 2003. The AIER CDI was last published during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Major Metros Top Rankings:
1    Boston-Cambridge-Quincy-MA-NH
2    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria-DC-VA-MD-WV
3    New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island-NY-NJ-PA
4    San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont-CA
5    Baltimore-Towson-MD
6    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington-MN-WI
7    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue-WA
8    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington-PA-NJ-DE-MD
9    Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown-TX
10    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington-TX
11    Denver-Aurora-Broomfield-CO
12    Chicago-Joliet-Naperville-IL-IN-WI
13    St. Louis-MO-IL
14    San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos-CA
15    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana-CA

Mid-Size Metros Top Rankings:
1    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara-CA
2    Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos-TX
3    Oklahoma City-OK
4    Buffalo-Niagara Falls-NY
5    Pittsburgh-PA
6    Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis-WI
7    Rochester-NY
8    Raleigh-Cary-NC
9    Richmond-VA
10    Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford-CT
11    Columbus-OH
12    Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor-OH
13    New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner-LA
14    Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro-OR-WA
15    San Antonio-New Braunfels-TX
16    Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News-VA-NC
17    Cincinnati-Middletown-OH-KY-IN
18    Salt Lake City-UT
19    Indianapolis-Carmel-IN
20    Louisville/Jefferson County-KY-IN

Small Metros Top Rankings:
1    Ann Arbor-MI
2    Madison-WI
3    Boulder-CO
4    Gainesville-FL
5    Durham-Chapel Hill-NC
6    Lincoln-NE
7    Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk-CT
8    Fort Collins-Loveland-CO
9    Trenton-Ewing-NJ
10    Tallahassee-FL
11    Lubbock-TX
12    Lansing-East Lansing-MI
13    Honolulu-HI
14    Duluth-MN-WI
15    Huntsville-AL
16    Lexington-Fayette-KY
17    Omaha-Council Bluffs-NE-IA
18    Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta-CA
19    Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood-TX
20    Fayetteville-NC

College Towns Top Rankings:
1    Ithaca-NY
2    Ames-IA
3    State College-PA
4    Iowa City-IA
5    Corvallis-OR
6    Champaign-Urbana-IL
7    Lafayette-IN
8    Lawrence-KS
9    Morgantown-WV
10    Columbia-MO
11    College Station-Bryan-TX
12    Fargo-ND-MN
13    Charlottesville-VA
14    Manhattan-KS
15    Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford-VA
16    Bloomington-IN
17    Grand Forks-ND-MN
18    Burlington-South Burlington-VT
19    Auburn-Opelika-AL
20    Missoula-MT