The 10 Best College Towns In Pennsylvania For 2019


Swipe left for slideshow

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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania for 2019:

  1. West Chester, PA (Photos | Homes)
  2. Millersville, PA (Photos | Homes)
  3. Media, PA (Photos | Homes)
  4. Easton, PA (Photos | Homes)
  5. Swarthmore, PA (Photos | Homes)
  6. Huntingdon, PA (Photos | Homes)
  7. Greensburg, PA (Photos | Homes)
  8. Middletown, PA (Homes)
  9. Bloomsburg, PA (Photos | Homes)
  10. Bethlehem, PA (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 West Chester, Millersville and Media - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where West Chester ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in Sharon, PA - it's officially the worst college town in Pennsylvania. Sorry, Sharon!

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

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

To crunch our data on Pennsylvania'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 46 places in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania For 2019".

And it looks like West Chester placed Summa Cum Laude.

West Chester, PA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 19,698
% Undergrad Pop.: 52.4% (5th best)
Median Rent: $1,202 (48th best)
Unemployment Rate: 570.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on West Chester: Real Estate | Data | Photos

West Chester is a borough and the county seat of Chester County, Pennsylvania, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The population was 18,461 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, PA
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 8,366
% Undergrad Pop.: 77.7% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,153 (46th best)
Unemployment Rate: 610.0% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Millersville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Millersville is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 7,774.

Colleges: Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Media, PA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 5,346
% Undergrad Pop.: 31.4% (8th best)
Median Rent: $1,082 (42nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 640.0% (17th best)
Crime Rank: 13th best
More on Media: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The borough of Media is the county seat of Delaware County, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and is located 13 miles west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time that it was named the county seat. The population was 5,327 at the 2010 census, down from 5,533 at the 2000 census. Its school district is the Rose Tree Media School District with Penncrest High School and Springton Lake Middle School. In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America. Media promotes itself by its motto: "Everybody's Hometown".

Colleges: Delaware County Community College, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine, Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

Easton, PA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 27,045
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.4% (33rd best)
Median Rent: $938 (36th best)
Unemployment Rate: 750.0% (25th best)
Crime Rank: 16th best
More on Easton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Easton is a city in and the seat of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city's population was 26,800 as of the 2010 census. Easton is located at the confluence of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River, roughly 55 miles north of Philadelphia and 70 miles west of New York City.

Colleges: Lafayette College

Swarthmore, PA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 6,243
% Undergrad Pop.: 22.9% (16th best)
Median Rent: $1,099 (44th best)
Unemployment Rate: 520.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Swarthmore: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Swarthmore is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. Swarthmore was originally named "Westdale" in honor of noted painter Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The name was changed to "Swarthmore" after the establishment of Swarthmore College. "Swarthmore" can be pronounced with the first "r" either vocalized or dropped due to differences in rhotic and non-rhotic accents, but locally it is usually pronounced without the first "r". The borough population was 6,194 as of the 2010 census.

Colleges: Swarthmore College

Huntingdon, PA
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 7,025
% Undergrad Pop.: 18.4% (21st best)
Median Rent: $542 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 810.0% (28th best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Huntingdon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Huntingdon is a borough in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located along the Juniata River, approximately 32 miles east of Altoona and 98 miles west of Harrisburg. It is the largest population center near Raystown Lake, a winding, 28-mile-long flood-control reservoir managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The borough is located on the main line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad, in an agricultural and outdoor recreational region with extensive forests and scattered deposits of ganister rock, coal, fire clay, and limestone. Historically, the region surrounding Huntingdon was dotted with iron furnaces and forges, consuming limestone, iron ore and wood throughout the 19th century. Dairy farms dominate the local agriculture. The town is a regular stop for the Amtrak passenger service which connects Harrisburg with Pittsburgh.

Colleges: Juniata College, Du Bois Business College-Huntingdon

Greensburg, PA
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 14,476
% Undergrad Pop.: 18.8% (20th best)
Median Rent: $627 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 620.0% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 29th best
More on Greensburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Greensburg is a city in and the county seat of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States, and a part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The city lies within the Laurel Highlands and the ecoregion of the Western Allegheny Plateau. The city is named after Nathanael Greene, a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. The population was 14,892 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, Seton Hill University, Triangle Tech Inc-Greensburg

Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 7,530
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.8% (12th best)
Median Rent: $774 (26th best)
Unemployment Rate: 460.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Middletown: Real Estate | Data

Colleges: Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg

Bloomsburg, PA
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 14,500
% Undergrad Pop.: 47.2% (6th best)
Median Rent: $769 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 590.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 22nd best
More on Bloomsburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bloomsburg is a town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States, located 40 miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River. It is the county seat of Columbia County and the only incorporated town in Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, Bloomsburg had a population of 14,855, with an estimated population of 14,519 in 2013.

Colleges: Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, PA
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 75,240
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.5% (32nd best)
Median Rent: $993 (40th best)
Unemployment Rate: 630.0% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 31st best
More on Bethlehem: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bethlehem is a city in Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region of the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 74,982, making it the seventh largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Allentown, Erie, Reading, and Scranton. Of this, 55,639 were in Northampton County, and 19,343 were in Lehigh County.

Colleges: Northampton County Area Community College, Lehigh University, Moravian College

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

If you're looking for the best college towns in Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania, starting with the absolute worst, Sharon:

  1. Sharon
  2. Bradford
  3. Chester
  4. Washington
  5. Chambersburg
  6. Allentown
  7. Scranton
  8. Beaver Falls
  9. New Kensington
  10. Dunmore

For more reading, check out:

46 Best College Towns In Pennsylvania

Rank City Population
1 West Chester, PA 19698
2 Millersville, PA 8366
3 Media, PA 5346
4 Easton, PA 27045
5 Swarthmore, PA 6243
6 Huntingdon, PA 7025
7 Greensburg, PA 14476
8 Middletown, PA 7530
9 Bloomsburg, PA 14500
10 Bethlehem, PA 75240
11 Indiana, PA 13690
12 Hazleton, PA 24882
13 Clarion, PA 5135
14 Collegeville, PA 5221
15 Lock Haven, PA 9540
16 Glenside, PA 7684
17 Mechanicsburg, PA 9016
18 Schuylkill Haven, PA 5244
19 Carlisle, PA 19113
20 Gettysburg, PA 7627
21 Edinboro, PA 6206
22 Altoona, PA 44749
23 Lancaster, PA 59556
24 Phoenixville, PA 16743
25 Harrisburg, PA 49278
26 East Stroudsburg, PA 10149
27 Dubois, PA 7556
28 California, PA 6513
29 Pittsburgh, PA 305012
30 Meadville, PA 13105
31 Mckeesport, PA 19488
32 Erie, PA 98970
33 Reading, PA 88275
34 Johnstown, PA 19967
35 Philadelphia, PA 1569657
36 Williamsport, PA 28938
37 Dunmore, PA 13412
38 New Kensington, PA 12679
39 Beaver Falls, PA 8641
40 Scranton, PA 76624
41 Allentown, PA 120128
42 Chambersburg, PA 20640
43 Washington, PA 13624
44 Chester, PA 34102
45 Bradford, PA 8440
46 Sharon, PA 13505

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?