College Towns: Handle Data With Care

Authors: Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Yuanhang Wang Date: November 2019

Although the term ‘college town’ may invoke idyllic images from our past, government statistics paint a different picture.  College towns often appear as poverty – ridden, with unaffordable housing and low incomes.  However, by their very nature college students are young, often have very little income, and usually have an ability to spend far more than their official income.  In this paper, authors Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro and Yuanhang Wang show how government statistics for college towns can be misleading with respect to income, poverty, and housing affordability, as well as ways in which college towns are not so different from other areas with respect to statistics on crime or unemployment rates.

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Keywords: College Towns, data, statistics, rent, income, students