Yet another reason New Orleans is thriving right now, it’s the place to be for college students. The technology industry is picking up in the area and the young professionals are starting to see the many benefits of living in NOLA.  Read below to see how we faired.

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) created a College Destinations Index for 2012-2013.  The Index concludes that the “college experience” isn’t just about attending a well-renowned university, but that the city or town a school is located in also carries significance.

The Index lists the top 75 towns and cities in the United States for students, based on a larger evaluation of the 227 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with populations of 15,000 or more.  While evaluating several factors of data points from areas like the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Science Foundation.

Julie Zhu, an AIER research analyst believes that with “approximately half of current college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, the pros and cons of a particular college destination should be an important factor in making a college selection,”

The top 75 college destinations – grouped by total residential populations – are listed below:

These cities topped the AIER College Destinations Index based on the destination’s performance across the following 12 areas:

  • Student Concentration: number of college students per 1,000 population
  • Student Diversity: percentage of student body that are non-U.S. residents
  • Research Capacity: academic R&D expenditures per capita
  • Degree Attainment: percent of the 25-to-34-year-old population with bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Cost of Living: based upon average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • Arts and Leisure: number of cultural and entertainment venues per 100,000 population
  • City Accessibility: percentage of workers over age 16 who commute on foot or by public transportation or bicycle
  • Creative Class: percentage of workforce in the arts, education, knowledge industries, science and engineering, management and other fields
  • Earning Potential: income per capita
  • Entrepreneurial Activity: net annual increase in total number of business establishments per 100,000 population
  • Brain Gain/Drain: year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degree (it is only population with B.A degree, not all the college level) living in the area
  • Unemployment rate

Electronic copies of the complete 2012-2013 AIER College Destinations Index analysis and companion brochure are available at