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Photos: Ten best U.S. college towns to live in, including two in Colorado

Last September, we shared Kiplinger's list of the ten best cities for young graduates. But a new roster by SmartAsset is even more specific. The site shares its picks for the best (and worst) college towns to live in for new grads or just folks looking for a fresh start -- and two Colorado places made the positive side of the cut, with one doing very well indeed.

Continue to count down the photo-illustrated best college towns top ten, featuring excerpts from SmartAsset text, plus a graphic and details about how the roster was assembled -- and click to check out the original post.

Number 10: Fort Collins, Colorado

Resting on the Cache La Poudre river and along the Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins is the 4th most populous city in Colorado. Fort Collins boasts top 15 ranks in arts and leisure, violent crime safety and property crime safety....

Number 9: Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis has grown from its origins as a trading post for fur trappers to become a city with a major university, a strong economy based on a healthcare sector and Hewlett-Packard facilities....

Continue to keep counting down the ten best college towns in the U.S. Number 8: Logan, Utah

Home of the Utah State Aggies, Logan, Utah has some of the most desirable college town real estate in the country. Logan can be a safe and peaceful place to settle down with the second fewest violent crimes and the fourth fewest property crimes of our college towns....

Number 7: Ames, Iowa

Ames, Iowa was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad. Today it has grown into a hotbed of agriculture, design, engineering, and veterinary research. The home of Iowa State University is a great, safe place to live with just a 3.2% unemployment rate and top ten rankings for both property and violent crime safety....

Continue to keep counting down the ten best college towns in the U.S. Number 6: Portland, Maine

The 6th best city in our list is Maine's largest city and home to more than one-third of all of its residents. Portland residents have little trouble finding ways to spend their free time as it has the third most arts and leisure establishments per capita....

Number 5: Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia is a city steeped in American history. Not only is it home to one of oldest and most respected universities in the world but also to two U.S. presidents. Both James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson had homes in Charlottesville that can still be visited today....

Continue to keep counting down the ten best college towns in the U.S. Number 4: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Walker Rumsey and named for their wives, both named Ann, and the area's stands of Burr Oak trees. It remains today a hub of education and development as home to one of the premier universities in the world in The University of Michigan as well as a strong technocentric economy....

Number 3: Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin is the biggest city in our top ten with over 575,000 residents. "Mad City" ranked as an all-around great place to live, with scores in the top twenty-five for all of the categories we measured....

Continue to keep counting down the ten best college towns in the U.S. Number 2:Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota rated as our second best college town to live in for its low cost of living, low unemployment and cultural opportunity. Fargo has the third lowest cost of living of any of our cities with rent for an average two-bedroom home at just $639....

Number 1: Boulder, Colorado

Home to the University of Colorado, Boulder provides the best quality of life of any college town that we studied. With over 64% of adults holding at least a bachelor's degree and an average discretionary income of $37,168 Boulder is flush with economic and intellectual opportunity....

Note: Here's the explanation of how SmartAsset came up with its ranking:


In our quest to find the most appealing places to settle down we looked at 5 factors:

Discretionary Income (DI) -- average yearly income for city minus average yearly 2 bedroom rent for that city Number of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 people (A&L) Unemployment Rate (UE) Number of Violent Crimes per 100,000 people (VC) Number of Property Crimes per 100,000 people (PC)


We ranked college towns on these 5 factors and then combined those rankings to create a "quality of life score" to identify the most safe, affordable fun college cities with economic opportunity. The lower the score, the better.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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More from our Lists & Weirdness archive circa September 2013: "Photos: Ten best cities for young grads -- and where Boulder places."

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