A popular tourist destination in North Carolina is among the best college towns in America, according to a new report.
Preply, an online learning platform, ranked Asheville as the ninth best small college town in the nation. The city is home to UNC-Asheville, which has about 3,300 students.
To rank each college town, Preply compared them across three categories: wallet friendliness, social environment and economic opportunity. Each category accounted for a third of the city’s overall ranking.
Out of 199 college towns included in the report, Asheville received its lowest marks for wallet friendliness, coming in at No. 80. The score was calculated based on factors such as the cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant, the rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center and the cost of a beer.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Asheville is $2,100, and the average cost of a beer in the city is $4.75, according to the report.
The report ranked Asheville 16th in the social environment category, weighing metrics like its percentage of foreign-born residents, parks per capita and crime rate.
The city has more than 50 parks, and a crime rate of 40.38, according to the report. More than 7% of Asheville’s population was born outside of the U.S., according to the latest census data.
Asheville came in at No. 31 in the economic opportunity category, a position based on factors such as the average monthly net salary and unemployment rate in the city.
The average monthly salary in Asheville is $3,480, according to the report. The city had an unemployment rate of 2.9% in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other North Carolina college towns included on the list were Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point and Boone, which were ranked 18th, 38th, 166th and 174th, respectively. At No. 199, Greenville was ranked as the worst college town in the nation.
Notably absent from the list were any of North Carolina’s larger college towns, such as Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem.
Here are the 10 best college towns in America, according to Preply:
Ann Arbor, Michigan
St. Charles, Missouri
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Clemson, South Carolina
West Lafayette, Indiana
Asheville, North Carolina
This story was originally published September 5, 2022 1:43 PM.
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