Names the 10 Best College Towns, 2016

Share Article

Annual list identifies and ranks US college towns

The thing about college towns is that they aren’t only great places for high school seniors to consider.

A great college town is not just about statistics. It’s about heart and history.

Students get the education, parties and football games, but residents of college towns win too -- they can take advantage of the valuable economic stability that universities provide and the high creative energy that students bring each semester. With this in mind, has named the 10 Best College Towns, 2016. College towns provide a supportive place for students to thrive both academically and socially, endless entertainment options and cultural and economic enhancements from the area higher education.

Our experts analyze data from the Census, Esri and other vital sources to discover cities with a high concentration of schools and a highly educated population; 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; and diverse towns where education is a dominant employer. Bonus points are awarded to towns with Division I athletics because strong sports programs often influence how college towns are defined. The availability and affordability of rental housing, as well as surrounding attractions and restaurants, are also considered.

The short list is then narrowed down based on experiences crisscrossing the nation and a critical eye on town and gown relationships. Finally, our experts weighed in to give the list our own personal touch.

“The thing about college towns is that they aren’t only great places for high school seniors to consider,” said managing editor Christopher Pilny. “They’re great places for everyone to consider, as many of the best places to live in the U.S. are those that have colleges and/or universities.”

10 Best College Towns, 2016
Tempe, AZ
Irvine, CA
Columbia, SC
Cambridge, MA
Ann Arbor, MI
Tallahassee, FL
Fairfax, VA
Greensboro, NC
Denton, TX
Provo, UT

About 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. is a division of Journal Communications, Inc.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Christopher Pilney
+1 615-771-5550 Ext: 210
Email >
Follow >
Visit website