College towns overtook big metro areas on the American Institute for Economic Research's latest index of college destinations, thanks in part to the recent economic downturn.
According to the AIER, college towns with populations under 250,000 are relatively recession-proof since they are home to a high proportion of students who consistently spend money. As a result, their economies tend to be more stable than those of larger cities.
And college towns fared particularly well in three categories on the index's 12-part scale: arts and leisure, unemployment, and entrepreneurial activity. Overall, those categories paint a good picture of an area's economic health.
Ithaca, N.Y. once again took the top spot on the list.
Meanwhile, major metropolitan areas like Boston, New York, Washington, and San Francisco were knocked off this year's top 10 list, and Ann Arbor was the only city with a population of more than 250,000 that made the top 10.
#10 Morgantown, West Virginia
Student concentration: 205.7 (per 1,000 people)
2-bedroom apartment: $586/month
Earning Potential: $34,412
Colleges: West Virginia University
#9 Lawrence, Kansas
Student concentration: 255.5 (per 1,000 people)
2-bedroom apartment: $536/month
Earning Potential: $31,250
Colleges: University of Kansas
#8 Lafayette, Indiana
Student concentration: 210.2 (per 1,000 people)
2-bedroom apartment: $793/month
Earning Potential: $30,282
Colleges: Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Harrison College, Purdue University
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