30 Best College Towns in America

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20. Kalamazoo, Michigan
> Pop. enrolled in college: 24.7% (18,761)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 6
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.2%
> Median age: 26.2
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3%
> Bars and restaurants: 356 per 100,000 people

Nearly one in every four residents of Kalamazoo, Michigan are enrolled in college or graduate school. The city is home to half a dozen schools, including Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

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19. Lawrence, Kansas
> Pop. enrolled in college: 25.6% (24,038)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 4
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 53.4%
> Median age: 27.5
> 2018 unemployment: 3.0%
> Bars and restaurants: 267 per 100,000 people

Home to four postsecondary institutions — including the University of Kansas, the largest university in the state — Lawrence, Kansas, ranks among the top 20 college towns in the United States. College towns tend to have highly-educated adult populations, and Lawrence is no exception. Over half of area residents 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree, compared to 30.9% of adults nationwide.

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18. Fayetteville, Arkansas
> Pop. enrolled in college: 26.0% (21,270)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 3
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 48.1%
> Median age: 27.1
> 2018 unemployment: 2.7%
> Bars and restaurants: 366 per 100,000 people

Fayetteville, Arkansas, boasts three postsecondary education institutions, including the University of Arkansas, and 26% of area residents are enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs. College towns often have a larger than typical range of options related to culture and entertainment — and in Fayetteville, there are 366 bars and restaurants for every 100,000 people, a far greater concentration than the national concentration of 186 per 100,000.

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17. Columbia, Missouri
> Pop. enrolled in college: 26.1% (30,937)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 7
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 53.4%
> Median age: 27.6
> 2018 unemployment: 2.3%
> Bars and restaurants: 278 per 100,000 people

Columbia, Missouri is home to the University of Missouri – Columbia, commonly known as Mizzou, the state’s flagship university. Columbia has seven colleges in the area, and ranks among the top college towns in the country. Of the city’s 118,600 residents, 26.1% are enrolled in college or graduate school.

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16. Cambridge, Massachusetts
> Pop. enrolled in college: 26.3% (29,184)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 7
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 76.5%
> Median age: 30.4
> 2018 unemployment: 2.1%
> Bars and restaurants: 350 per 100,000 people

Cambridge, Massachusetts, located across the Charles River from Boston, is home to some of the most competitive universities in the country, including MIT and Harvard University. Areas home to large student populations often also have well-educated adult populations. In Cambridge, more than 75% residents 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 30.9% of adults nationwide.