University ranks No. 7 for livability


Local resident Jacob Carter and Allan Hay sit at the bar at Jupiter’s Pizzeria and Billiards, located in downtown Champaign, on Oct. 11. The University was ranked No. 7 in top ten college towns, citing Jupiter’s as one of the city’s iconic pizza places.

By David Ruvinskiy, Contributing Writer

“Awesome.” “Green.” “Diverse.” “Busy.” These are the words students at the University use to describe Champaign, which ranks No. 7 in a list of top 10 college towns.

The list, published by Livability, a website that ranks cities based on an array of criterias, ranked Champaign as No. 5 in 2017 and No. 7 in 2014.

UIUC top ten livability college town

UIUC top ten livability college town


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Winona Dimeo-Ediger, managing editor at Livability, said in an email that “Champaign has the perfect mix of a youthful population, great job opportunities, good salaries and affordable housing (in relation to those salaries).”

According to Dimeo-Ediger, Livability creates a Top 10 College Towns list every year. The criteria Livability uses to rank 200 college towns includes: how typical income compares to rent rates, the population of young adults in the town, the number of jobs in the education sector and the salary of education jobs.

“At Livability, we know college towns aren’t just great places to go to school. They’re amazing places to live for people in all different phases of life,” Dimeo-Ediger said. “This is honestly one of our favorite lists because we get to showcase college towns for all the cool things they offer beyond the campus: diversity, inclusivity, tight-knit community, charming downtowns and tons of fun things to do.”

The top three college towns in 2018 are Provo, Utah, home to Brigham Young University; Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University; and Ithaca, New York, home to Cornell University.

“There’s always something going on, and if you’re ever bored on a weekend, there’s so many different things that you can choose to go to and spend your free time,” said Jessie Smith, senior in Education.

Dimeo-Ediger said Livability decided which categories to rank college towns in by considering what contributes the most to life in a college town.

These factors include the tailgating culture, food culture and other qualities that make the town special.

“We chose categories that we felt highlighted what makes each city special while giving our readers a real slice of life in those places (and hopefully a trip down memory lane to their own college experiences),” Dimeo-Ediger said.

Derek Jiang, junior in LAS, thinks the different types of food available on and off campus, especially Papa Del’s, a pizzeria on Neil Street, are what make Champaign special.

Carolyn Radecki, senior in AHS, said, “There’s a fun night life. There’s a lot of different places to eat on campus. (There’s) a lot of different types of food. I would say we’re very diverse with the food that is offered on this campus. I think that’s awesome.”

Radecki also thinks the faculty at the University and the campus community contributed to making Champaign a top ranked college town.

“I feel very comfortable having conversations with my professors, and I feel like having that on a campus is something that a lot of students look for. As for the community in general, it’s just a fun place to live,” she said.

Peter Floess, graduate student in LAS, said one of the flaws of Champaign as a college town is that it struggles with housing segregation, similar to many Midwestern cities.

“As a teacher, it’s just kind of tough to see. It’s just a sad situation outside of the college. So I think there’s a huge gap between people that go to school here and the actual community,” Smith said. “I just think connecting the two more and helping provide a community with all the resources that U of I has. I think it would help.”

However, Smith said she enjoys life in Champaign in general.

“I’ll miss the experience. I don’t want to leave,” Smith said.

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