LIST NAMES BOULDER ‘Most Economically Vibrant College Town’ in U.S.

Posted by Admin . on Monday, October 3rd, 2011 at 11:12am.

Boulder once again was ranked the best on a national list, this time taking the top slot in America's 20 Most Economically Vibrant College Towns, compiled by Richard Florida, senior editor at The Atlantic and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

Florida notes that “the idea-driven, human capital powered knowledge economy has transformed” many college towns into “economic powerhouses.” They’ve also shown incredible resilience throughout the economic crisis with the help of universities, state funding, and jobs markets with high concentrations of health-care and educational opportunities. Unemployment rates in college towns have also remained far below the national average, he writes.

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado and No. 1 in the analysis of America’s most economically vibrant college towns, was also named America’s Best Town for Startups by Businessweek.

Located within 50 miles of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Mich., home to the University of Michigan, came in second, followed by high-tech meccas: the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro, home to Silicon Valley and Stanford University; the Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina metro, home to North Carolina and North Carolina State Universities, Boston-Cambridge with Harvard, MIT, and a host of others; San Francisco; and greater Austin.

Fort Collins-Loveland, with Colorado State University, and Front Range and Aims community colleges, tied with Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York, for 15th on the list.

Florida, along with Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues Kevin Stolaric and Charlotta Mellander, defined college towns as metropolitan areas with high percentages of students and faculty in their populations. They measured economic vibrancy in terms of per capita income, high-tech industry concentration, the rate of innovation (measured as patents per capita), human capital (the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher), percent of the workforce in the creative class, and the affordability of housing.

To see the complete list of America’s 20 Most Economically Vibrant College Towns, visit

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