La Crosse in top 20 nationally

UW-La Crosse is credited by the American Institute for Economic Research for putting La Crosse as the No. 19 best college town in America.

UWL gets credit for La Crosse getting high marks as a college town

La Crosse is among the top 20 college towns in the country.

Pointing to UW-La Crosse, The American Institute for Economic Research puts La Crosse as the No. 19 best college town in America. It’s the only city in Wisconsin to make the ranking.

Boulder, Colorado, is the top-ranked college town in the U.S., according to the institute. Regionally, Rochester, Minnesota, makes the list at No. 16 for being home to the University of Minnesota Rochester campus.

The ranking’s description of La Crosse:

Located along the Mississippi River, La Crosse has a beautiful historic center. Compared with Madison, home to University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus, La Crosse offers an advantage in its social scene. The town has an array of pubs, eateries, and entertainment venues. It is also home to the World’s Largest Six-Pack, a landmark structure. La Crosse’s second most interesting feature is its extremely low unemployment rate at 1.5 percent.

The American Institute for Economic Research compiled its list using nine economic, demographic, and quality-of-life factors. It defines college towns as having fewer than 250,000 residents.

Aside from the overall ranking, the institute included cities’ individual scores for noteworthy metrics including rent, earnings, and bars and restaurants. It chose the one metric where the city scored the highest out of the nine. La Crosse was listed No. 1 in youth unemployment, No. 3 in labor force and No. 9 in rent.

American Institute for Economic Research, founded in 1933, educates Americans on the value of personal freedom, free enterprise, property rights, limited government and sound money. Get more details about the ranking at: American Institute for Economic Research.

College Towns Ranking:

1 Boulder, Colorado
2 Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
3 Flagstaff, Arizona
4 Ithaca, New York
5 Iowa City, Iowa
6 Bloomington, Indiana
7 College Station, Texas
8 Manhattan, Kansas
9 Columbia, Missouri
10 Bloomington, Illinois
11 Charlottesville, Virginia
12 Lafayette, Indiana
13 Fargo, North Dakota
14 Athens, Georgia
15 State College, Pennsylvania
16 Rochester, Minnesota
17 Blacksburg, Virginia
18 Jacksonville, North Carolina
19 La Crosse, Wisconsin
20 Bellingham, Washington

Ranking detail:

No. 19 La Crosse, Wis.
Population: 136,824
Students: 16,081


No. 19 College educated
No. 20 Diversity

Quality of life:

No. 12 City Access
No. 12 Arts and Entertainment
No. 16 Bars and Restaurants


No. 1 Youth Unemployment
No. 3 Labor Force
No. 17 Innovation
No. 9 Rent