Morgantown has been recognized as a Top 10 college town by the American Institute for Economic Research.
Morgantown jumped nine spots to No. 9 in the rankings this year in the College Destinations Index for 2012. The town also ranks No. 10 in overall college destination of all 227 metropolitan statistical areas assessed.
“It’s always great to have outside, independent validation of what so many of us feel that Morgantown is a special place and an incredible place to call home,” West Virginia University President Jim Clements said. “So many people, civic groups, businesses, organizations, neighborhood associations, and community leaders have worked together to make this one of the best cities in America, and working together we can continue to build on our successes.”
The town ranked first in entrepreneurial activity (net increase in total number of businesses per 100,000 population) and brain gain or drain (year-over-year ratio of population with bachelor’s degrees living in the area), second in cost of living (average 2-bedroom rent) and third among arts and leisure (establishments per 100,000 population in arts, entertainment and recreation). It ranked in the top 10 in all 12 categories.
“This top 10 ranking shows what a strong relationship the city and WVU have,” said Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla. “We work well together and will continue to do so with our new International Town and Gown Association partnership.”
In 2009, Morgantown was ranked No. 19. It moved up one spot in the 2010-11 rankings before this year’s jump.
The AIER wrote of Morgantown: “The town of 30,000 near the Pennsylvania line is one of the few College Destinations to have greater entrepreneurial activity than in previous years. But the primary reason for Morgantown’s leap in the rankings was its stability. Many of Morgantown’s stats did not change during the Great Recession.”
A total of 12 factors are evaluated using the most current data available from the Census Bureau and others to provide a snapshot of each community’s overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities in the area.
For these rankings, a college town was considered a metropolitan statistical area with more than 15,000 college students.
Ithaca, N.Y., was named the top college town in the nation in 2012. Three other Big 12 Conference schools made the list: Iowa State University, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.
More information is available at http://aier.org.
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