College Towns: High Marks for Lifestyle, college towns consistently have unemployment rates below their state figures, and nationally as well. Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State University) stands at 8.9%, below the 11.2% state and 9.4% national rates. Manhattan, Kansas, (Kansas State University) rates at 4.6%, the second lowest small city rate in the nation, and Iowa City, Iowa, (University of Iowa) at 6.2% (pictured).
Why the resilience of university towns?
- For one, universities don’t typically suffer from massive layoffs of
students. In fact, I’m sure we all know at least one person who had
difficulty finding or keeping a job that considered returning to school.
That provides a constant population of residents and consumers for local businesses, kind of like why toothpaste companies don’t suffer in economic downturns.
- Graduating students translate to educated candidates to start new businesses or infuse existing ones with fresh, innovative talent.
- Former graduates are returning to the towns they want to school
in, according to Tom Wetzel, founder and president of the Retirement
Living Information Center. If you’re retired or laid off, why not
return to that sense of community and camaraderie you had in school,
from intellectual pursuits to the big football game. Blacksburg,
Virginia (Virginia Polytechnic and State University) and Davis,
California (University of California) are favorite return destinations
because of the strong sense of community and purpose they establish with
Finally, college towns are full of creatives, and we’re headed to a more creative economy. Thus, college towns already possess many of the placemaking qualities
that a creative economy needs to thrive - walkability, local
independent businesses, human-scaled buildings, active public spaces…
Photo of Iowa City’s downtown pedestrian mall by Kables. Reprinted from Cooltown Studios. http://www.cooltownstudios.com
Content provided by Jeff Edberg, Partner at Lepic-Kroeger, REALTORS®