To identify the best college towns in America, 24/7 Wall St. used the data compiled from our article on the best cities to live. We considered the 584 cities, towns, and villages the U.S. Census Bureau reported as having populations of more than 65,000 in 2017. Of those places, we identified the 30 cities with the highest postsecondary enrollment as a percentage of the population.
The number of degree-granting colleges and universities (including graduate degrees) in each city as of the 2017-2018 school year comes from the National Center for Education Statistics. The percentages of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree in each city came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and are 5-year estimates. Annual unemployment rates for 2018 were obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of bars (or “drinking places”) per 100,000 city residents came from the U.S Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns for 2016.