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ePODUNK COLLEGE TOWNS INDEX
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ePodunk College Town Index - sources and methods

The ePodunk College Town Index combined 15 statistical sources to find college towns with strong economies and varied arts and intellectual activities. The study did not assess the strengths or weaknesses of the colleges themselves.

We first assembled a nationwide list of communities with four-year colleges having enrollments of at least 1,500 students. We totalled fall 2000 enrollments of all four-year colleges and compared student enrollments to the general 2000 population figure for each community. Grouping cities by size, we set thresholds for student population in each. Cities that had student enrollments below those thresholds were excluded from the survey. Because our aim was to find cities where colleges acted as engines for cultural and economic growth beyond the campus, we also screened out communities where the ratio of students to general population exceeded 3:4.

We then assessed the remaining communities according to weighted variables. Statistics and sources included:

  • 2000 population (city and county - U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Change from 1990 population (city - U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Combined college enrollment, fall 2000 - National Center for Education Statistics
  • Median age - U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Percentage of owner-occupied housing - U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Per-capita personal income, 1999 * - Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Unemployment rate, 2000 annual average * - Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Restaurants ** - County Business Patterns, 1999 - Bureau of the Census
  • Entertainment businesses ** - County Business Patterns, 1999 - Bureau of the Census
  • Information-related companies (including publishing industries, motion picture and sound-recording industries, broadcasting and telecommunications, and information and data-processing services)** - County Business Patterns, 1999 - Bureau of the Census
  • Book, periodical and music stores ** - County Business Patterns, 1999 - Bureau of the Census
  • Public library holdings, circulation and expenditures, 1999 - National Center for Education Statistics
  • NEA and NEH grants, 1999 - National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Symphony orchestras - American Symphony Orchestra League
  • Historic sites and historic districts - National Register, 2002

Medians were determined for each variable in each category, and communities were then scored by their percentage of the median. Each variable was assigned a maximum number of points.

Cities were grouped in four categories:

  • Big cities: 300,000 or more population
  • Medium-sized cities: 100,000-299,999
  • Small cities: 20,000 to 99,999
  • Towns: up to 19,999

* County-wide statistics
** County-wide statistic assigned a proportion according to population

For additional information, contact ePodunk.


TOP-RANKED COLLEGE TOWNS
BY COMMUNITY SIZE
BIG CITIES
1 Boston-Cambridge, MA
2 Minneapolis, MN
3 Denver, CO
4 Columbus, OH
5 Seattle, WA
6 Atlanta, GA
7 Austin, TX
8 Washington, DC
9 Cincinnati, OH
10 Saint Louis, MO
MEDIUM-SIZED CITIES
1 Columbia, SC
2 Tallahassee, FL
3 Madison, WI
4 Urbana-Champaign, IL
5 Ann Arbor, MI
6 Berkeley, CA
7 Athens, GA
8 Fort Collins, CO
9 New Haven, CT
10 Provo, UT
SMALL CITIES
1 Charlottesville, VA
2 Bozeman, MT
3 Hays, KS
4 Boulder, CO
5 Missoula, MT
6 Manhattan, KS
7 Burlington, VT
8 Bismarck, ND
9 Iowa City, IA
10 Chapel Hill, NC
TOWNS
1 Hanover, NH
2 Princeton, NJ
3 Brookings, SD
4 Middlebury, VT
5 Durango, CO
6 Bronxville, NY
7 Menomonie, WI
8 Oneonta, NY
9 Rolla, MO
10 Conway, SC
CITIES | COUNTIES | AIRPORTS | CEMETERIES | COLLEGES | LIBRARIES | MUSEUMS | NEWSPAPERS

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