The 10 Best College Towns In Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri for 2019:

  1. Maryville, MO (Photos | Homes)
  2. Warrensburg, MO (Photos | Homes)
  3. Kirksville, MO (Photos | Homes)
  4. Columbia, MO (Photos | Homes)
  5. Marshall, MO (Photos | Homes)
  6. Sunset Hills, MO (Photos | Homes)
  7. Bolivar, MO (Photos | Homes)
  8. Rolla, MO (Photos | Homes)
  9. Joplin, MO (Photos | Homes)
  10. Fulton, MO (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 Maryville, Warrensburg and Kirksville - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Maryville ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

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

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

To crunch our data on Missouri'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 19 places in Missouri 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 Missouri For 2019".

And it looks like Maryville placed Summa Cum Laude.

Maryville, MO
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 11,855
% Undergrad Pop.: 47.0% (1st best)
Median Rent: $638 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 570.0% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Maryville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Maryville is a city and county seat of Nodaway County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 11,972. Maryville is home to Northwest Missouri State University, Northwest Technical School, and the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing.

Colleges: Northwest Missouri State University

Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 19,890
% Undergrad Pop.: 46.0% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $722 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 690.0% (20th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Warrensburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Warrensburg is a city in Johnson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 18,838 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Johnson County. The Warrensburg Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Johnson County. It is home to the University of Central Missouri.

Colleges: University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg Area Career Center

Kirksville, MO
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 17,519
% Undergrad Pop.: 33.2% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $606 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 650.0% (19th best)
Crime Rank: 12th best
More on Kirksville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kirksville is a city in and the county seat of Adair County, Missouri, United States. Located in the Benton Township, its population was 17,505 at the 2010 census. Kirksville is home to two colleges: Truman State University and A.T. Still University.

Colleges: Truman State University, Kirksville Area Technical Center, A T Still University of Health Sciences

Columbia, MO
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 118,620
% Undergrad Pop.: 22.4% (5th best)
Median Rent: $825 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 430.0% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Columbia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia is a city in the U.S. state of Missouri and the county seat of Boone County. Founded in 1821, it is home to the University of Missouri and is the principal city of the Columbia metropolitan area. It is Missouri's fourth most-populous city, with an estimated 120,612 residents in 2016. As a Midwestern college town, the city has a reputation for progressive politics, persuasive journalism, and public art. The tripartite establishment of Stephens College, the University of Missouri, and Columbia College, which surround the city's central business district to the east, south, and north, has made Columbia a center of learning. At the center of Downtown is 8th Street, also known as the Avenue of the Columns, which connects Francis Quadrangle and Jesse Hall to the Boone County Courthouse and the City Hall. Never a major center of manufacturing, the city also depends on healthcare, insurance, and technology businesses. Companies such as Shelter Insurance, Carfax, and Slackers CDs and Games, were founded in the city. Cultural institutions include the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the annual True/False Film Festival. The Missouri Tigers, the state's only major college athletic program, play football at Faurot Field and basketball at Mizzou Arena as members of the Southeastern Conference.

Colleges: University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia College, Stephens College

Marshall, MO
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 12,865
% Undergrad Pop.: 12.0% (10th best)
Median Rent: $662 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 370.0% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Marshall: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marshall is a city in Saline County, Missouri, United States. The population was 13,065 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Saline County. The Marshall Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Saline County. It is home to Missouri Valley College.

Colleges: Missouri Valley College, Saline County Career Center

Sunset Hills, MO
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 8,511
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.7% (14th best)
Median Rent: $1,656 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 190.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Sunset Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sunset Hills is a city in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. The population was 8,496 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: Vatterott College-Sunset Hills, Applied Technology Services

Bolivar, MO
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 10,654
% Undergrad Pop.: 25.5% (4th best)
Median Rent: $660 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 400.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 17th best
More on Bolivar: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bolivar is a city and county seat of Polk County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,325.

Colleges: Southwest Baptist University

Rolla, MO
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 20,013
% Undergrad Pop.: 18.5% (6th best)
Median Rent: $692 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 550.0% (11th best)
Crime Rank: 16th best
More on Rolla: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rolla is a city in and the county seat of Phelps County, Missouri, United States. The population in the 2010 United States Census was 19,559. Rolla is located approximately midway between St. Louis and Springfield along I-44. The Rolla, Mo Micropolitan Statistical area consists of Phelps County, Missouri.

Colleges: Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla Technical Institute/Center, Metro Business College-Rolla

Joplin, MO
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 51,540
% Undergrad Pop.: 12.7% (9th best)
Median Rent: $753 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 580.0% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 21st best
More on Joplin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Joplin or is a city in southern Jasper County and northern Newton County in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Missouri. Joplin is the largest city in Jasper County, though it is not the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 50,150. Joplin is the main hub of the three-county Joplin-Miami, Oklahoma metropolitan area.

Colleges: Missouri Southern State University, Ozark Christian College, Vatterott College-Joplin

Fulton, MO
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 12,807
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.3% (8th best)
Median Rent: $613 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 620.0% (16th best)
Crime Rank: 13th best
More on Fulton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fulton is the largest city in and the county seat of Callaway County, Missouri, United States. It is part of the Jefferson City, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 12,790 in the 2010 census. The city is home to two universities, Westminster College and William Woods University, the Missouri School for the Deaf, the Fulton State Hospital, and Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center.

Colleges: William Woods University, Westminster College

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

If you're looking for the best college towns in Missouri, 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:

19 Best College Towns In Missouri

Rank City Population
1 Maryville, MO 11855
2 Warrensburg, MO 19890
3 Kirksville, MO 17519
4 Columbia, MO 118620
5 Marshall, MO 12865
6 Sunset Hills, MO 8511
7 Bolivar, MO 10654
8 Rolla, MO 20013
9 Joplin, MO 51540
10 Fulton, MO 12807
11 Florissant, MO 51952
12 Hannibal, MO 17551
13 St. Louis, MO 314867
14 Kansas City, MO 476974
15 Liberty, MO 30602
16 Moberly, MO 13775
17 Independence, MO 117369
18 Springfield, MO 165785
19 Nevada, MO 8248

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?