Ames was named the best college town in the United States out of a field of 30 finalists.
24/7 Wall Street wrote an article on the top 30 college cities in the United States Sept. 4. More than 500 cities, towns and villages with a population of over 65,000 residents in 2017 were considered for the article. The data used in the article was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.
“[I was] certainly pleased to hear once again Ames recognized, the university recognized — being the top of a class of other like communities,” said Ames Mayor John Haila.
Before celebrating, Haila said he wanted to learn more about the criteria of the list, which was based on the amount of colleges and universities in the area, the median age of the residents and unemployment rates. Ames currently has a 1.5 percent unemployment rate and had a population of 66,498 people, including students, in 2017.
“I believe small towns can have negative connotations as well as positive connotations, but it has its own unique warmth, friendliness — but also a wide diversity of individuals from different nationalities, different races, colors and it’s a melting pot,” Haila said. “I believe it makes and energizes the community.”
Haila said the city has many defining characteristics, such as local businesses and organizations, as well as resources such as CyRide and WelcomeFest, which connect both communities. Haila also said Ames and Iowa State together build a sense of “home.”
As the city is ranked, Haila said he is proud and ready to make more improvements from all aspects to Ames.
“One never gets tired of hearing how well we rank in comparison to other similar communities and it certainly makes me proud of our community,” Haila said. “We don’t want to rest on our morals though either; we want to continue making [Ames] the best place not only to go to school but also to live and raise a family and to enjoy life year-round for the rest of your life.”
Haila said he wants to improve certain aspects by providing new job opportunities, becoming more diverse and strengthening the bond between Ames and Iowa State.
“There’s a lot on our plate, but I can’t be prouder to represent the City of Ames, make sure all students as constituents — there’s just a great community, great staff, great council, great university,” Haila said. “There’s an old [adage] — success breeds success, it’s true. [...] We just can’t take for granted being ‘number one’ or the top two, four, six, eight, 10 — you know whatever it’s going to be, that’ll always keep on coming.”