The Best College Towns In Arizona For 2019


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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Arizona is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Arizona are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Arizona for 2019:

  1. Mesa, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  2. Tempe, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  3. Glendale, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  4. Scottsdale, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  5. Tucson, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  6. Phoenix, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  7. Chandler, AZ (Photos | Homes)
  8. Flagstaff, AZ (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Mesa, Tempe and Glendale - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Mesa ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 8 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 435 places in Arizona that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on Arizona check out:

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Arizona?

To crunch our data on Arizona's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 8 places in Arizona with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Arizona For 2019".

And it looks like Mesa placed Summa Cum Laude.

Mesa, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 479,317
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.3% (5th best)
Median Rent: $943 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 600.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Mesa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mesa is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles east of Phoenix. Mesa is the central city of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.

Colleges: Mesa Community College, Arizona State University-Polytechnic, Pima Medical Institute-Mesa

Tempe, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 178,339
% Undergrad Pop.: 20.4% (1st best)
Median Rent: $1,056 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 550.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Tempe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tempe, also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2010 population of 161,719. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.

Colleges: Arizona State University-Tempe, Rio Salado College, Western International University

Glendale, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 241,543
% Undergrad Pop.: 1.6% (4th best)
Median Rent: $917 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 630.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Glendale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glendale is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located about nine miles northwest from Downtown Phoenix. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 226,721.

Colleges: Glendale Community College, Arizona State University-West, Arizona Automotive Institute

Scottsdale, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 239,283
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.3% (7th best)
Median Rent: $1,221 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 410.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Scottsdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, adjacent to the Greater Phoenix Area. Named Scottsdale in 1894 after founder Winfield Scott and incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2,000, the 2015 population of the city is estimated to be 236,839 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as "a desert version of Miami's South Beach" and as having "plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene." Its slogan is "The West's Most Western Town."

Colleges: Scottsdale Community College, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Scottsdale, Cortiva Institute-Scottsdale

Tucson, AZ
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 530,905
% Undergrad Pop.: 5.2% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $801 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 940.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Tucson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is located 108 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60mi north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 53rd largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Colleges: Pima Community College, University of Arizona, Pima Medical Institute-Tucson

Phoenix, AZ
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 1,574,421
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.3% (6th best)
Median Rent: $954 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 690.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Phoenix: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,615,017 people, Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.

Colleges: Phoenix College, GateWay Community College, Paradise Valley Community College

Chandler, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 245,160
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (8th best)
Median Rent: $1,198 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 460.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Chandler: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Chandler is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, and a prominent suburb of the Phoenix, Arizona, Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is bordered to the north and west by Tempe, to the north by Mesa, to the west by Phoenix, to the south by the Gila River Indian Community, and to the east by Gilbert. As of July 2015, the population was 260,828 according to the United States Census Bureau, According to the city's official website, Chandler's Transportation & Development Department estimated the population, as of May 2016, to be 247,328. It also has satellite locations for many technology companies, including Intel and Orbital ATK.

Colleges: Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Golf Academy of America-Phoenix, International Baptist College and Seminary

Flagstaff, AZ
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 69,903
% Undergrad Pop.: 19.9% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,138 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 770.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Flagstaff: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.

Colleges: Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, CollegeAmerica-Flagstaff

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Arizona, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

8 Best College Towns In Arizona

Rank City Population
1 Mesa, AZ 479317
2 Tempe, AZ 178339
3 Glendale, AZ 241543
4 Scottsdale, AZ 239283
5 Tucson, AZ 530905
6 Phoenix, AZ 1574421
7 Chandler, AZ 245160
8 Flagstaff, AZ 69903

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?