MISSOULA – Missoula, home to the University of Montana, recently was named the No. 7 best college town in America for 2013 by Livability.com.
For this fourth installment of the annual ranking, editors narrowed their search to cities with a high quality of life based on factors ranging from cost of living and walkability to cultural amenities and pollution levels. Then they focused on those cities where a university is the top employer and key economic driver.
And finally, they considered student-to-resident ratios, educational attainment, college-led community outreach programs and the percentage of 21- to 34-year-olds to show that people stick around or move in after graduation.
Livability.com editors wrote: “Lush forests and fresh waterways surround Missoula, Mont., but the city’s cultural attractions and entertainment options are surprisingly urban for a place founded by miners, timber companies and farmers. Live theater and music venues, museums, eclectic shops, restaurants and bars create a lively scene for residents and (UM) students alike. On campus, athletic games, music recitals, concerts, art gallery receptions, public lectures and film screenings keep the entire Missoula community entertained.”
“Students at UM participate in many forms of community outreach, ranging from wildlife restoration projects and toy drives to health screenings and reporting for state newspapers and radio stations,” they continued. “During the past three years, nearly 2,000 students donated 366,000 hours of service. The University also is home to the spectrUM Discovery Area, an interactive science museum with exhibits, activities and demonstrations for kids.”
“For a small to midsized town, having a great college or university can add immeasurably to the livability,” said Livability.com editor Matt Carmichael. “Schools provide a level of economic stability, a constant influx of new residents and cultural and sporting events that cities couldn’t produce on their own.”
The full article is online at http://livability.com/top-10/top-10-college-towns-2013.
The Top 10 Best College Towns 2013
1. Boulder, Colo.
2. Ann Arbor, Mich.
3. Gainesville, Fla.
4. Columbia, Mo.
5. Lexington, Ky.
6. Iowa City, Iowa
7. Missoula, Mont.
8. Madison, Wis.
9. Fayetteville, Ark.
10. College Station, Texas