Blacksburg metro area ranks high for college students

November 28, 2012

Montgomery County, Virginia
Economic Development Department


Montgomery County, Virginia – The American Institute for Economic Research has named the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area one of the top college destinations in the America. According to the 2012 College Destinations Index, the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area ranked high for its quality of life, academic environment and professional opportunities available to students after graduation.

Compiled by the American Institute for Economic Research, the College Destination Index examines the 227 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the U.S. with student populations of 15,000 or more to find the 75 best metro areas to live in if you're a college student. The top 75 metros are broken out into division based on total population, including Major Metros (2.5 million or more residents), Midsize Metros (1.0 to 2.5 million residents), Small Cities (250,000 to 1.0 million residents) and College Towns (250,000 or less residents).

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area ranked No. 15 overall in the College Town division. It also ranked in the Top 10 for several of the divisional subcategories, including: 

  • Student Concentration: 6th - Number of college students per 1,000 population (U.S. census - 2010)
  • Research Capacity: 8th - Acadamic R&D expnditure per capita (National Science Foundation - 2010)
  • Arts & Leisure: 7th - Establishments per 100,000 population in arts, entertainment and recreation (U.S. Economic Census - 2008)
  • Unemployment: 8th - Unemployment rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2012 average)
  • Rate Brain Gain: 9th - Year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degree living in the area (U.S. Census - 2010)

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area - known locally as the New River Valley - is home to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Radford UniversityEdward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and New River Community College. In 2011, over 46,000 students were enrolled at colleges and universities in the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area.

“The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement and tourism,” said Steven Cunningham, AIER director of research and education. “A top AIER College Destinations Index ranking should be just as important to the town or city as it is to the schools located there and the families and students attending or considering them.”

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area has a number of assets that make it an attractive place. The area has received numerous accolades recognizing its quality of life, business environment and tourist attractions (view full list).

About Us

Montgomery County, Virginia - home to Virginia Tech and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg - is a progressive, technology-driven community with an abundance of outdoor amenities.  The Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department's mission is to improve the quality of life throughout Montgomery County by encouraging positive economic growth that 1) creates meaningful career opportunities, 2) expands the commercial tax base, and 3) protects our enviable way of life.

Popular News

Back to top