It is the type of ranking some athletic teams in the city would drool over these days: Lawrence is a top 10 college community.
The city’s low unemployment, its high number of youthful students and its growing ranks of highly educated residents helped Lawrence land at No. 9 on a new ranking of college destinations from the American Institute for Economic Research. The ranking is up from 14th a year earlier.
“It is a great reflection of the total community that people in Lawrence know about, but that isn’t as well known in other parts of the country,” said Tom Kern, president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “These type of rankings really help expand our reputation outside of the state of Kansas.”
The Massachusetts-based nonprofit ranks the 222 metro areas that have more than 15,000 college students. The organization ranks cities based on population size. Lawrence ranked ninth among the 46 cities with fewer than 250,000 people.
Smartest in state
While Lawrence isn’t one of the top 20 brainiest cities in the country, it is the smartest one in the state. Last week, the online news site The Daily Beast listed what it considered to be the smartest cities based on share of adults holding doctoral, master’s or professional degrees and the share of the work force comprised of computer scientists, mathematicians and physical, biological and social scientists.
Lawrence was among the top 10 cities in the country for adults holding a higher education degree; however, it didn’t rank quite as well for workers who are employed as mathematicians and scientists.
The report, though, did show Lawrence ranked low on a pair of key economic categories. Lawrence ranked 14th out of 20 for earning potential, and 12th out of 20 for the amount of entrepreneurial activity in the community.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers and how Lawrence compared to other communities.
• The Top 10: 1. Ithaca, N.Y.; 2. State College, Pa.; 3. Iowa City; 4. Ames, Iowa; 5. Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; 6. Charlottesville, Va.; 7. Corvallis, Ore.; 8. Bloomington, Ind.; 9. Lawrence; 10. Logan, Utah.
• Flocks of students: Lawrence ranked third in terms of student density, with 260 students per every 1,000 people in the city. The study’s authors said high student density is good because it gives a city a youthful feel. Other cities in the top five: Ithaca, Ames, College Station, Texas and State College.
• Diversity measure: Lawrence ranked 11th out of 20 in terms of the number of students with foreign passports, at 7 percent. The top five: Ithaca, 14 percent; Lafayette, Ind., 14 percent; Champaign-Urbana,13 percent; Logan, 13 percent; and Ames, 11 percent.
• Research money: Lawrence was 11th in terms of per capita research expenditures, with $1,883 in R&D; spending per person. The top five: Ithaca, $6,481; State College, $4,843; College Station, $3,126; Ames, $2,586; Blacksburg, Va., $2,351.
• Arts and leisure: Lawrence also was 11th in terms of the number businesses per capita that are in the arts, entertainment or recreation category. The top five: Flagstaff, Ariz.; Burlington, Vt.; Ithaca; Charlottesville; Fargo, N.D.
• Bus and bike: The city was 11th again in terms of the percent of workers who either rode the bus, walked or biked to work, at 9.6 percent. The top five: Ithaca, 25 percent; Iowa City, 18 percent; Ames, 18 percent; State College, 16 percent; Champaign-Urbana, 16 percent.
• Rent: When it comes to the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment, Lawrence was 11th, at $741 per month. The top five: Morgantown, W. Va.; $605; Fargo, $628; Columbia, Mo., $637; Logan, $663; Bloomington, $677.
• Money making: Lawrence dropped all the way to 14th in the per capita income ranking. Lawrence was at $31,443. The top five: Charlottesville, $43,344; Burlington, $41,139; Fargo, $39,812; Bloomington, Ill. $38,865; Iowa City, $38,273.
• Business makers: The city scored 12th in a category that measures number of new businesses created per capita. The top five: Logan; Flagstaff; Iowa City; Fargo; Charlottesville.
• Jobs: Lawrence had the sixth lowest average unemployment rate, at 5.5 percent. The top five: Iowa City, 4.2 percent; Ames, 4.4 percent; Fargo, 4.4 percent; Logan, 4.9 percent; Morgantown, 5.1 percent.
• Brain gain: Lawrence had the sixth highest growth rate of residents who have at least a bachelor’s degree. The top five: Logan, Bloomington, Ind.; Bloomington, Ill.; Corvallis; Iowa City.
• Notables: Several other Big 12 cities were ranked. Boulder, Colo., was ranked No. 1 in the small cities category of 250,000 to 1 million people. Lincoln, Neb., was 13th in the same category. Austin, Texas, was No. 2 in the midsize metro category. Oklahoma City, which includes Norman, was 20th in that category. Columbia, Mo., was ranked 13th in the category of cities under 250,000.