Livability.com Names the Top 10 Best College Towns, 2015

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Annual list identifies and ranks America’s college towns

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Living in a college town allows residents to tap into the economic stability that universities provide and the creative energy that students bring.

Living in a college town allows residents to tap into the economic stability that universities provide and the creative energy that students bring. Even if you’re not a student, being a college town resident will certainly keep you entertained. With this in mind, Livability.com has named the Top 10 Best College Towns, 2015. These cities provide supportive places for students to thrive both academically and socially, endless entertainment options and cultural and economic enhancements from their area universities.

When choosing the best college towns, our editors first analyzed data from the Census, Esri and other sources to find cities with a high concentration of schools and a highly educated population. They looked at cities that have a high population of 25- to 29-year-olds as an indicator of the town’s ability to retain graduates who decided it’s a cool enough place to stay after graduation. They also looked for diverse towns where education is a dominant employer. Some bonus points were given to towns with Division I athletics because, like it or not, strong sports programs help define college towns. The availability of rental housing and the affordability of that housing were also considered.

Finally, our editors narrowed down the short list based on their experiences crisscrossing the nation and based on further research into town and gown relationships.

“For most college-bound kids, this is really the first time they are choosing where they get to live,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. “It shouldn’t be the only consideration in selecting a college, but it should be factored in.”

Top 10 Best College Towns, 2015
1. Manhattan, KS
2. Durham, NC
3. Columbia, MO
4. Berkeley, CA
5. Denton, TX
6. Cambridge, MA
7. Gainesville, FL
8. Columbia, SC
9. Lincoln, NE
10. Bowling Green, KY

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About Livability.com:
Livability.com explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit. We examine issues related to livability such as walkability, cultural amenities, transportation, urban planning and sustainability through exclusive research and discussions on our blog. We celebrate the accomplishments of these cities through our monthly top 10 lists, our annual ranking of livable cities, our rich photography and conversations with readers in social media. Livability.com is a division of Journal Communications, Inc.

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