The Best College Towns In Mississippi For 2020

Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in Mississippi.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Mississippi is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Mississippi are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Mississippi for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Mississippi For 2020

  1. Cleveland, MS (Photos | Homes)
  2. Columbus, MS (Photos | Homes)
  3. Hattiesburg, MS (Photos | Homes)
  4. Clinton, MS (Photos | Homes)
  5. Jackson, MS (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Cleveland, Columbus and Hattiesburg - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Cleveland ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 5 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 362 places in Mississippi that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on Mississippi check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Mississippi For 2020

Cleveland, MS
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 11,998
% Undergrad Pop.: 28.0% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $795 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 782.6% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Cleveland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cleveland is a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 12,334 as of the 2010 United States Census.

Colleges: Delta State University

Columbus, MS
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 24,272
% Undergrad Pop.: 11.0% (4th best)
Median Rent: $753 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1272.8% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Columbus: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, Mississippi, United States, located primarily east, but also north and northeast of the Tombigbee River, which is also referred to as the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. It is approximately 146 miles northeast of Jackson, 92 miles north of Meridian, 63 miles south of Tupelo, 60 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and 120 miles west of Birmingham, Alabama. The population was 25,944 at the 2000 census and 23,640 in 2010. The population in 2012 was estimated to be 23,452. Columbus is the principal city of the Columbus Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Columbus-West Point Combined Statistical Area. Columbus is also part of the area of Mississippi called The Golden Triangle, consisting of Columbus, West Point and Starkville, in the counties of Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha.

Colleges: Mississippi University for Women

Hattiesburg, MS
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 46,251
% Undergrad Pop.: 30.0% (1st best)
Median Rent: $774 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1299.5% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Hattiesburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hattiesburg is a city in the U.S. state of Mississippi, primarily in Forrest County and extending west into Lamar County. The city population was 45,989 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 46,805 in 2015. It is the principal city of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties.

Colleges: University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, Antonelli College-Hattiesburg

Clinton, MS
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 25,456
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.6% (5th best)
Median Rent: $963 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 282.5% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Clinton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clinton is a city in Hinds County, Mississippi, United States. Situated in the Jackson metropolitan area, it is the tenth largest city in Mississippi. The population was 25,216 at the 2010 United States Census.

Colleges: Mississippi College, Mississippi Institute of Aesthetics Nails & Cosmetology

Jackson, MS
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 168,862
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.8% (6th best)
Median Rent: $824 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1177.0% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Jackson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Jackson, officially the City of Jackson, is the capital city and largest urban center of the U.S. state of Mississippi. It is the primary seat of Hinds County, equally sharing its county power with Raymond, Mississippi. The City of Jackson also owns more than 3,000 acres comprising Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport in Rankin County. Jackson is on the Pearl River, which drains into the Gulf of Mexico, and it is part of the Jackson Prairie region of the state. The city is named after General Andrew Jackson, who was honored for his role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and later served as U.S. president.

Colleges: Jackson State University, Belhaven University, Millsaps College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Mississippi?

To crunch our data on Mississippi's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 5 places in Mississippi with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Mississippi For 2020".

And it looks like Cleveland placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Mississippi, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

5 Best College Towns In Mississippi

Rank City Population
1 Cleveland, MS 11998
2 Columbus, MS 24272
3 Hattiesburg, MS 46251
4 Clinton, MS 25456
5 Jackson, MS 168862

Best College Towns By State

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