Corvallis climbed the ranks to 5th Best College Town (under 250,000 residents) in the nation in this year’s annual report by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), an independent, non-profit organization. Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University and Ithaca College, ranked first, and shares striking similarities with Corvallis—smaller populations, healthy atmospheres, colleges of over 20,000 students, and surrounded by rich, stunning farmland. Smaller towns have risen to the top this year, and it’s not surprising—aside from the beauty, friendliness, and hometown feel of our community, smaller college towns have shown a greater ability to weather the recent recession than larger cities such as New York and Philadelphia. Our economies are hugely bolstered by a relatively stable and dependable—and often growing, as is the case with OSU—population of student spenders.
According to Steven Cunningham, AIER Director of Research and Education, “The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement, and tourism.”
To make the top five, Corvallis ranked high in 12 categories, including City Accessibility, Earning Potential, Entrepreneurial Activity, Student Concentration, Research Capacity, Cost of Living, Brain Gain/Drain, Arts and Leisure, and others. The only other Oregon location to place in this year’s rankings was Portland, at 14th in mid-sized metros (1 to 2.5 million residents). OSU has only to remedy its horrendous parking situation to catapult Corvallis into the number one spot in the ranks of Best College Towns… just kidding!
By Genevieve Weber
– American Institute for Economic Research’s top 75 college towns and cities, 2012-2013