Getting national recognition for the place many in the Northland call home is always great and residents of Duluth received just that recently when a study was done to determine the best small college towns in America.

The study was done by Preply, an online learning platform. They note that small towns can easily get overlooked when choosing a university, but they often offer many advantages over big city schools.

For example, small college towns are often safer and more affordable than big cities. Their populations can be surprisingly varied, yet their smaller sizes make them easier for newcomers to navigate. Also, the interactions between small town residents and university students can be much closer than those in a major metropolis.

As for the methodology of the study, Preply grouped 13 indicators into three categories to rank the top 200 cities in its report. It limited its sample to cities that had either public or private universities. Each metric was granted on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions for college students.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

The three categories equally used:

  • Wallet Friendliness: This was measured by four factors such as the cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant; fitness club monthly fee (1 person); rent per month for an apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center; and the cost of a beer.
  • Social Environment: This included a total of five indicators that included the level of diversity in the city (looking at foreign-born residents); cafes per capita; parks per capita; nightlife per capita and also the level of crime rate in each city.
  • Economic Opportunities: This category was assessed with four indicators: the average monthly net salary (after tax); the unemployment rate; employment rate; and buy apartment price.
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Once all the data was crunch, Minnesota was well represented with five cities making it into the top 200. The top Minnesota city was Rochester, which finished #6 overall. Rochester colleges include University of Minnesota Rochester, Winona State University Rochester, Rochester Community and Technical College, Augsburg University, College of St. Scholastica, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Lake Superior College light pole banner in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Duluth ultimately finished #161, a very respectable showing considering the countless small college towns there are across the United States. Other Minnesota cities who made the top 200 included Moorhead at #126, Mankato at #159 and St. Cloud 182.

As for Wisconsin, La Crosse was the top city in the state and had an amazing showing in this study. The home of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College finished in the top 5 overall, landing at #4.

LOOK: Here are the best small towns to live in across America

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READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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