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Ames, IA Named Best College Town in America

Ames, Iowa, ticks off all the boxes and is financial news website’s “Best College Town In America.” 24/7’s rankings considered the share of residents enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate institution, the number of colleges and universities in the area, the median age of residents, the cities unemployment rate and the number of bars per 100,000 city residents. Click HERE to read the “30 Best College Towns in America” and HERE for the full list of 30 college towns.

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.

Though the best college towns are typically home to multiple higher education institutions — from community colleges to graduate schools — most often, a single school accounts for the vast majority of students. Many of the cities on this list are home to some of the largest universities — as measured by total enrollment — in the country.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 30 best college towns in America. 24/7 considered 584 cities, towns, and villages the U.S. Census Bureau reported as having populations of more than 65,000 in 2017. Of those places, it 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.

About 24/7 Wall St.
24/7 Wall St., LLC is a Delaware corporation which runs a financial news and opinion company with content delivered over the Internet. The company’s articles are republished by many of the largest news sites and portals, including MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch,, USAToday, and The Huffington Post. The company publishes over 30 articles per day and has readers throughout North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.


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