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This Map Shows the Best College Town in All 50 States

What makes a college town great? Better yet, what makes it special? Is it the school, the sports teams everyone cheers for, or both? There are so many metrics to make a case for several places across the country, and now we have the final answer.

Using data from the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, did some heavy digging into the best college town in every state to settle the score. Factors such as overall population, college student population, rental costs, college education rates, transportation access, unemployment rate and bar availability for nightlife, among others things, played a key role in deciding the top spot.

The biggest rule of this study? The American city or small town has to have fewer than 250,000 residents. That means schools like the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles don't meet the criteria of a "college town" and therefore don't count in the the overall rankings.

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So without further ado, here are the best college towns in America, according to

Best College Towns in Every State (Overall Ranking)

Alabama — Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama (33)
Alaska — Anchorage, University of Alaska Anchorage (49)
Arizona — Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University (35)
Arkansas — Fayetteville, University of Arkansas (19)
California — San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly (41)
Colorado — Boulder, University of Colorado Boulder (29)
Connecticut — New Haven, Yale University (37)
Delaware — Dover, Delaware State University (50)
Florida — Gainesville, University of Florida (25)
Georgia — Athens, University of Georgia (23)
Hawaii — Honolulu, University of Hawaii (43)
Idaho — Rexburg, Brigham Young University-Idaho (4)
Illinois — Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (3)
Indiana — West Lafayette, Purdue University (7)
Iowa — Iowa City, University of Iowa (1)
Kansas — Lawrence, University of Kansas (13)
Kentucky — Lexington, University of Kentucky (48)
Louisiana — Metairie, University of New Orleans (40)
Maine — Portland, University of Southern Maine (26)
Maryland — College Park, University of Maryland (42)
Massachusetts — Williamstown, Williams College (22)
Michigan — Ann Arbor, University of Michigan (18)
Minnesota — Rochester, University of Minnesota Rochester (14)
Mississippi — Hattiesburg, University of Southern Mississippi (47)
Missouri — Springfield, Missouri State University (20)
Montana — Bozeman, Montana State University (8)
Nebraska — Lincoln, University of Nebraska (16)
Nevada — Reno, University of Nevada, Reno (39)
New Hampshire — Hanover, Darmouth College (21)
New Jersey — Princeton, Princeton University (45)
New Mexico — Las Cruces, New Mexico University (44)
New York — Ithaca, Cornell University (2)
North Carolina — Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina (24)
North Dakota — Grand Forks, University of North Dakota (15)
Ohio — Oxford, Miami University (31)
Oklahoma — Lawton, Cameron University (38)
Oregon — Corvallis, Oregon State University (12)
Pennsylvania — State College, Penn State University (6)
Rhode Island — Providence, Brown University (32)
South Carolina — Clemson, Clemson University (36)
South Dakota — Sioux Falls, University of South Dakota (11)
Tennessee — Knoxville, University of Tennessee (34)
Texas — College Station, Texas A&M University (27)
Utah — Logan, Utah State University (5)
Vermont — Burlington, University of Vermont (28)
Virginia — Blacksburg, Virginia Tech (10)
Washington — Bellingham, Western Washington University (9)
West Virginia — Morgantown, West Virginia University (30)
Wisconsin — Madison, University of Wisconsin (17)
Wyoming — Laramie, University of Wyoming (46)

Best College Towns for Cost of Living

Springfield, Missouri
Rexburg, Idaho
Logan, Utah
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Morgantown, West Virginia

Best College Towns for Student Employment

Rexburg, Idaho
Logan, Utah
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Bozeman, Montana

Best College Towns for City Access

Ithaca, New York
Corvallis, Oregon
College Park, Maryland
Iowa City, Iowa
State College, Pennsylvania

Best College Towns for Bars

Williamstown, Massachusetts
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Madison, Wisconsin
Reno, Nevada
Metairie, Louisiana

Best College Towns With a High College-Educated Population

Bozeman, Montana
Boulder, Colorado
Corvallis, Oregon
Lawrence, Kansas
Madison, Wisconsin

This post was originally published on March 4, 2019.

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