Special Report

30 Best College Towns in America

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5. Gainesville, Florida
> Pop. enrolled in college: 35.5% (45,938)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 9
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.1%
> Median age: 26.0
> 2018 unemployment: 3.7%
> Bars and restaurants: 312 per 100,000 people

The University of Florida, one of the largest higher education institutions in the country, is located in Gainesville, Florida. As is often the case in college towns, Gaineville has a young population. The typical resident is just 26 years old, about 12 years younger than the median age of 37.8 nationwide.

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4. Davis, California
> Pop. enrolled in college: 35.7% (24,120)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 1
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 73.7%
> Median age: 25.8
> 2018 unemployment: 2.7%
> Bars and restaurants: 226 per 100,000 people

The culture and economy of Davis, California, are heavily influenced by the University of California, Davis. The school is also a major employer in the area, and partially as a result, Davis has an unemployment rate of just 2.7%, well below 3.9% national unemployment rate.

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3. College Station, Texas
> Pop. enrolled in college: 42.7% (45,867)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 2
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 55.8%
> Median age: 22.7
> 2018 unemployment: 2.9%
> Bars and restaurants: 226 per 100,000 people

College Station, Texas, is one of only three U.S. cities home to at least 65,000 people where over 40% of the population is enrolled in college. The city is dominated by Texas A&M University, nearly the largest higher educational institution by enrollment in the United States.

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2. Bloomington, Indiana
> Pop. enrolled in college: 44.2% (36,926)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 2
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 56.8%
> Median age: 23.8
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9%
> Bars and restaurants: 329 per 100,000 people

The University of Indiana, Bloomington is one of the largest schools in the United States. Like many college towns, Bloomington has a young population. The typical resident is less than 24 years old, about 14 years younger than the median age of 37.8 nationwide.

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1. Ames, Iowa
> Pop. enrolled in college: 45.2% (29,369)
> No. of colleges and universities in the area: 2
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 62.7%
> Median age: 23.1
> 2018 unemployment: 1.5%
> Bars and restaurants: 236 per 100,000 people

Ames, Iowa, is the only U.S. city with a population of at least 65,000 where more than 45% of residents are enrolled in college or graduate school. The city is home to Iowa State University, one of the largest schools in the country. The school is a major employer in the area, and partially as a result, the unemployment rate in Ames is just 1.5%, less than half the 3.9% national unemployment rate.

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