The 10 Best College Towns In Ohio For 2020


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in Ohio.
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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 Ohio 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 Ohio 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 Ohio for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Ohio For 2020

  1. Oxford, OH (Photos | Homes)
  2. Bowling Green, OH (Photos | Homes)
  3. Kent, OH (Photos | Homes)
  4. Cincinnati, OH (Photos | Homes)
  5. Parma, OH (Photos | Homes)
  6. Dayton, OH (Photos | Homes)
  7. Athens, OH (Photos | Homes)
  8. Berea, OH (Photos | Homes)
  9. Blue Ash, OH (Photos | Homes)
  10. Tiffin, OH (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 Oxford, Bowling Green and Kent - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Oxford ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in Middletown, OH - it's officially the worst college town in Ohio. Sorry, Middletown!

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

The 10 Best College Towns In Ohio For 2020

Oxford, OH
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 22,612
% Undergrad Pop.: 66.1% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $777 (31st best)
Unemployment Rate: 449.5% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 19th best
More on Oxford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oxford is a city in northwestern Butler County, Ohio, United States, in the southwestern portion of the state. It lies in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. The population was 21,371 at the 2010 census. This college town was founded as a home for Miami University. In 2014, Oxford was rated by Forbes as the "Best College Town" in the United States, based on a high percentage of students per capita and part-time jobs, and a low occurrence of brain-drain.

Colleges: Miami University-Oxford

Bowling Green, OH
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 31,541
% Undergrad Pop.: 49.1% (4th best)
Median Rent: $692 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 720.8% (27th best)
Crime Rank: 15th best
More on Bowling Green: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bowling Green is a city in and the county seat of Wood County, Ohio, United States. The population was 30,028 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Toledo Metropolitan Area and a member of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Bowling Green is the home of Bowling Green State University.

Colleges: Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

Kent, OH
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 29,824
% Undergrad Pop.: 58.9% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $797 (36th best)
Unemployment Rate: 857.4% (37th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Kent: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kent is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the largest city in Portage County. It is located along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio on the western edge of the county. The population was 28,904 in the 2010 Census and was estimated at 30,071 in 2016. The city is counted as part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland-Akron-Canton Combined Statistical Area.

Colleges: Kent State University at Kent, Northcoast Medical Training Academy

Cincinnati, OH
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 300,357
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.6% (19th best)
Median Rent: $709 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 917.3% (39th best)
Crime Rank: 46th best
More on Cincinnati: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cincinnati is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio that serves as county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north side of the confluence of the Licking with the Ohio River. With a population of 298,800, Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 65th-largest city in the United States. It has the fastest growing economic power of the Midwestern United States and 28th-biggest metropolitan statistical area in the United States, the biggest in Ohio. The city drives the Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington combined statistical area, which had a population of 2,172,191 in the 2010 census.

Colleges: University of Cincinnati-Main Campus, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Xavier University

Parma, OH
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 79,559
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.1% (48th best)
Median Rent: $833 (43rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 568.9% (23rd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Parma: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Parma is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. Located on the southern edge of Cleveland, it is both an inner-ring and the largest suburb of Cleveland. Parma, as of the 2010 census, is listed as the seventh largest city in the state of Ohio and the second largest city in Cuyahoga County after Cleveland.

Colleges: Bryant & Stratton College-Parma

Dayton, OH
Overall SnackAbility
3
/10

Population: 140,782
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.0% (14th best)
Median Rent: $681 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1186.1% (50th best)
Crime Rank: 42nd best
More on Dayton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Dayton is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and is the county seat of Montgomery County. A small portion of the city extends into Greene County. In the 2010 census, the population was 141,527, and the Dayton metropolitan area had 799,232 residents, making it Ohio's fourth-largest metropolitan area, after Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus and the 63rd-largest in the United States. The Dayton-Springfield-Greenville Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,080,044 in 2010, making it the 43rd-largest in the United States. Dayton is within Ohio's Miami Valley region, just north of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky metropolitan area.

Colleges: Sinclair Community College, Wright State University-Main Campus, University of Dayton

Athens, OH
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 24,771
% Undergrad Pop.: 67.5% (1st best)
Median Rent: $805 (38th best)
Unemployment Rate: 895.4% (38th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Athens: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Athens is a city in and the county seat of Athens County, Ohio, United States. It is located along the Hocking River in the southeastern part of Ohio. A historic college town, Athens is home to Ohio University, and is the principal city of the Athens, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area. The official population of Athens in the 2010 U.S. Census was 23,832.

Colleges: Ohio University-Main Campus

Berea, OH
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 18,859
% Undergrad Pop.: 21.4% (8th best)
Median Rent: $807 (39th best)
Unemployment Rate: 433.0% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Berea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Berea is a city in Cuyahoga County in the U.S. state of Ohio and is a western suburb of Cleveland. The population was 19,093 at the 2010 census. Berea is home to Baldwin Wallace University, as well as the training facility for the Cleveland Browns and the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Colleges: Baldwin Wallace University

Blue Ash, OH
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 12,150
% Undergrad Pop.: 30.2% (6th best)
Median Rent: $1,149 (51st best)
Unemployment Rate: 308.3% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 21st best
More on Blue Ash: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Blue Ash is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, and an inner suburb of Cincinnati, which is located to the south. The population was 12,114 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College

Tiffin, OH
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 17,599
% Undergrad Pop.: 14.4% (12th best)
Median Rent: $696 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 614.0% (25th best)
Crime Rank: 20th best
More on Tiffin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tiffin is a city in and the county seat of Seneca County, Ohio, United States. Tiffin is about 55 miles southeast of Toledo. The population was 17,963 at the 2010 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Tiffin as a Tree City USA.

Colleges: Tiffin University, Heidelberg University, Tiffin Academy of Hair Design

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

To crunch our data on Ohio'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 45 places in Ohio 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 Ohio For 2020".

And it looks like Oxford placed Summa Cum Laude.

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

If you're looking for the best college towns in Ohio, 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.

If you're curious, these are the worst college towns in Ohio, starting with the absolute worst, Middletown:

  1. Middletown
  2. East Liverpool
  3. Mount Vernon
  4. Defiance
  5. Wilmington
  6. Springfield
  7. Painesville
  8. Salem
  9. Portsmouth
  10. Circleville

For more reading, check out:

45 Best College Towns In Ohio

Rank City Population
1 Oxford, OH 22612
2 Bowling Green, OH 31541
3 Kent, OH 29824
4 Cincinnati, OH 300357
5 Parma, OH 79559
6 Dayton, OH 140782
7 Athens, OH 24771
8 Berea, OH 18859
9 Blue Ash, OH 12150
10 Tiffin, OH 17599
11 Youngstown, OH 64734
12 North Canton, OH 17362
13 Sylvania, OH 18928
14 Toledo, OH 278193
15 Oberlin, OH 8299
16 Newark, OH 49070
17 Cleveland, OH 387398
18 Marietta, OH 13718
19 Celina, OH 10288
20 Ashland, OH 20396
21 Kettering, OH 55405
22 Wooster, OH 26778
23 Centerville, OH 23821
24 Alliance, OH 21927
25 Ashtabula, OH 18243
26 Mansfield, OH 46638
27 New Philadelphia, OH 17432
28 Akron, OH 198314
29 University Heights, OH 13138
30 Steubenville, OH 18095
31 Canton, OH 71313
32 Columbus, OH 867628
33 Eastlake, OH 18229
34 Hamilton, OH 62259
35 Urbana, OH 11434
36 Circleville, OH 13853
37 Portsmouth, OH 20366
38 Salem, OH 11870
39 Painesville, OH 19828
40 Springfield, OH 59305
41 Wilmington, OH 12403
42 Defiance, OH 17105
43 Mount Vernon, OH 16669
44 East Liverpool, OH 10762
45 Middletown, OH 48449

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?