"The best college towns appeal not just to potential students but to potential residents and businesses looking for strong economies and opportunities to grow," say the editors of Livability. "Sports teams, research facilities, historic buildings, and proximity to bars and restaurants create an attractive atmosphere to spend four (or five) years, but a university's off-campus impact can also shape a town's character and keep people there for a lifetime."
“The same factors that make locations attractive to students also make them attractive to businesses,” says Steven Cunningham, director of research and education at the American Institute for Economic Research, who publish their own rankings on the subject. “A growing, highly-educated population with an extensive proportion of creative people and entrepreneurs means a high-quality labor pool. City accessibility supports morning commutes. Low cost of living means less upward pressure on wages. A high student concentration suggests enthusiastic part-time labor and internships. Favorable economic measures suggest a stable business environment and local demand for goods and services produced. All of these factors are important to quality of life in the broadest sense, which is important to employees and retirees.”
Congrats to Boulder, CO, this year's winner.