4 of the top 10 best college towns in the U.S. are in Florida—see where else made the list
In November, WalletHub released its report on 2023's best & worst college towns and cities in America.
The report compared 415 U.S. cities across three categories: wallet friendliness, social environment, and academic and economic opportunities.
The cities in the report were grouped based on the following population-size guidelines:
- Large Cities: more than 300,000 people
- Midsize Cities: 125,000 to 300,000 people
- Small Cities: fewer than 125,000 people
New York City, specifically the borough of Manhattan, was ranked the worst large college city, according to WalletHub.
The city received a score of 41.50/100, and when compared to every city size, ranked 387 out of 415.
The Big Apple is home to schools like NYU, Columbia University, and Barnard College, which all rank as some of the best schools in the area and the country, according to Niche.
No. 1 best college town and city: Austin, Texas
Total score: 63.27/100
Austin, Texas, topped the list as the best college town in America. It was also no. 1 when ranked by large city size.
The Texas city is at the top of the list for fastest-growing metro areas for career starters. Austin had a 21% growth in entry-level professionals, and an annual living wage for one adult with no dependents, according to MIT's living wage calculator, is $36,317.
Top 10 best college towns and cities in the U.S.
- Austin, Texas
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Orlando, Florida
- Gainesville, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Rexburg, Idaho
- Provo, Utah
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Miami, Florida
- Raleigh, North Carolina
The second city on the list is Ann Arbor, Michigan, which scored 61.48/100. It is home to the University of Michigan, one of the colleges with the wealthiest alums in the U.S. In Ann Arbor, the university is also one of the largest employers in the area.
Ann Arbor was also recently named one of the best U.S. cities to raise a family if you make over $100,000 a year by Rocket Mortgage.
The third city on the list is Orlando, Florida — one of the four cities in Florida that were included in the top 10. Orlando scored 61.42/100. It also ranked in second place for its social environment.
The Florida city is home to two of the largest and most internationally renowned tourist attractions: the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort.
According to MIT's living wage calculator, an annual living wage for one adult with no dependents in Orlando is $36,629. And WalletHub's 2022 Best and Worst Places to Retire survey lists Orlando as the second-best city to retire in.
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