30 Best College Towns in America

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10. Champaign, Illinois
> Pop. enrolled in college: 30.5% (26,154)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 2
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 51.1%
> Median age: 27.2
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3%
> Bars and restaurants: 344 per 100,000 people

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the largest universities in the United States — and its home city of Champaign, Illinois, ranks among the best college towns as a result. Champaign is one of only 10 U.S. cities with populations of at least 65,000 residents where over 30% of the population is enrolled in college or graduate school.

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9. Flagstaff, Arizona
> Pop. enrolled in college: 32.0% (22,347)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 4
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 45.1%
> Median age: 25.1
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9%
> Bars and restaurants: 325 per 100,000 people

Thanks in large part to the presence of Northern Arizona University, 32% of Flagstaff, Arizona, residents are college and graduate students. Towns where a college or university is a defining feature tend to be relatively young areas. In Flagstaff, the typical resident is only 25.1 years old, about 13 years younger than the median age of 37.8 nationwide.

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8. Provo, Utah
> Pop. enrolled in college: 32.9% (38,244)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 8
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.5%
> Median age: 23.7
> 2018 unemployment: 2.7%
> Bars and restaurants: 136 per 100,000 people

Nearly one in every three residents of Provo, Utah, are enrolled in college or graduate school, the largest share of any city in the state and eighth largest nationwide. The city is home to Brigham Young University, a school operated by the Mormon Church and one of the largest private universities in the country.

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7. Iowa City, Iowa
> Pop. enrolled in college: 34.4% (25,276)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 3
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 59.9%
> Median age: 25.8
> 2018 unemployment: 1.9%
> Bars and restaurants: 274 per 100,000 people

Iowa City — home to the University of Iowa — is one of only seven U.S. cities with at least 65,000 residents where over a third of the population is enrolled in college or graduate school. A young city, the typical Iowa City resident is only 25.8 years old, 12 years younger than the median age of 37.8 nationwide.

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6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
> Pop. enrolled in college: 35.0% (41,716)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 4
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 74.2%
> Median age: 27.5
> 2018 unemployment: 2.5%
> Bars and restaurants: 362 per 100,000 people

Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, one of the largest universities in the United States. The university helps support the city’s strong job market. Just 2.5% of Ann Arbor’s workforce was unemployed in 2018, a far smaller share than the 3.9% national unemployment rate.