Champaign-Urbana is a pretty awesome place – something we have known for years. But the secret is getting out to a much wider audience.
Our Central Illinois oasis continues to climb the rankings charts, and most recently was named the No. 2 college town in the country in a new list from the American Institute for Economic Research‘s College Destinations Index.
The College Destinations Index ranks cities on their ability to attract college students, not their quality of life over all, but this is still a great metric to understand where our community ranks across the country.
Boulder, Colorado, is the top-ranked college town in the US, according to the AIER.
AIER compiled its list using nine economic, demographic, and quality-of-life factors, including bars and restaurants; arts and culture; accessibility; diversity; college educated; innovation; rent; and youth unemployment; and labor force participation.
One of the areas Champaign-Urbana excelled is accessibility, which focuses on how people physically navigate the community. The cities also fared well in arts and entertainment as well as diversity, levels of college education, and youth unemployment.
“Champaign is economically appealing, with great labor market conditions,” the report said.
In 2015, Champaign-Urbana ranked 7th; in 2016, C-U was No. 16 in the survey. It wasn’t apparent what has changed year to year in the competition to cause such variability, or why this was the year Champaign-Urbana shot to the top of the list.
It defines small towns as having fewer than 250,000 residents.
Champaign-Urbana isn’t the only Illinois town to make the top 10 small town list – so did Bloomington, Ill., home of Illinois State.
The AIER College Destinations certainly has predilection for Big Ten cities. Columbus, Ohio; Madison, Wis.; Iowa City, Iowa; Ann Arbor, Mich; all ranked in their respective size lists.
If you are interested in learning more about where Champaign-Urbana sits among various rankings, our friends at You’re Welcome Champaign-Urbana have compiled a treasure trove over here.