State College Ranked Top-20 College Town

When you mix small town vibes with bustling university life you get one of the best college towns in the nation.

According to a new ranking by the American Institute for Economic Research, State College followed this recipe to create the fifteenth-best college town in the United States.

AIER ranked each of the top 20 towns on nine economic, demographic, and quality-of-life categories. Here’s how State College ranks in each one:

  • No. 5 in Bars and Restaurants
  • No. 6 in City Access
  • No. 7 in Youth Unemployment
  • No. 7 in College Educated
  • No. 12 in Innovation
  • No. 16 in Diversity
  • No. 17 in Arts and Entertainment
  • No. 17 in Labor Force
  • No. 19 in Rent


“The city lives up to its nickname, ‘Happy Valley,'” AIER said. “Dominated by Pennsylvania State University, State College’s entertainment revolves around the campus, from lively football games to engrossing fundraisers like ‘THON,’ when the entire city bleeds blue and white. State College ranks extremely high for places to socialize, with students mostly congregating in the small but charming downtown area. Despite its Nittany pride, the city remains in the middle of the pack economically, with notably high rents.”

State College edged out cities like Jacksonville, North Carolina, Blacksburg, Virginia, and Rochester, Minnesota to grab the No. 15 overall spot.

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism and one of Onward State's student life editors. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia." She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.


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