Blacksburg metro area named a top 10 college town

November 25, 2013

Montgomery County, Virginia
Economic Development Department


Montgomery County, Va. – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is one of the best college destinations in the country, according to the American Institute for Economic Research's (AIER) College Destinations Index for 2013-2014. Among MSAs with populations less than 250,000, AIER ranked the area the No. 8 College Town in the nation based on its overall economic and academic environment, quality of life and employment opportunities.

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area ranked No. 1 among college towns for brain gain, defined as the year-over year increase of population with a B.A. degree living in the area. Other top-ten rankings for the area were in the percent of workforce in the creative class, cost of living, R&D expenditures per capita, and the percent of 25-34 year old population with bachelor’s degree or higher.

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Known locally as the New River Valley, the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area has a population of over 160,000 and is home to several colleges and universities, including Virginia Tech, Radford University, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and New River Community College.  The area improved seven spots over last year's College Destinations Index, jumping from No. 15 to No. 8 among college towns.

“Cities and towns on this list don’t just offer a great academic environment or college experience for students,” said Steven Cunningham, Chief Economist at AIER. “They’re also vibrant places for businesses to open, tourists to visit and people to live. These rankings are just as important for a city as they are for the universities based there.”

About the Montgomery County Economic Development Department:

Montgomery County, Virginia - home of Virginia Tech and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg - is a progressive, technology-driven community with an abundance of outdoor amenities. The Montgomery County Economic Development Department actively supports the startup, retention and expansion of companies in Montgomery County as well as the recruitment of new businesses to the community. To learn more, visit

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