Reuters

If you're in college, these are the cities where you want to be.

The best places to be a student are also the world's biggest urban centers, according to new ranking from QS, which collects and publishes a wide range of rankings for global universities. The slides below show the top 10 "college cities":

These are true economic powerhouses: Eight of the top 10 made my list of the 25 most economically powerful cities.

The rankings are based on five indicators given equal weight: the percent of the city population made up of students, the ranking of the universities in each place, quality of living (based on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2011), employer activity (based on employers who identify institutions as having excellent graduates), and affordability (based on tuition fees, retail pricing, and the city’s cost of living). The rankings are limited to cities with a population over 250,000 -- so they exclude many smaller college towns -- and cities that have at least two institutions ranked on the QS World University Rankings.

Large global cities have increased their edge in attracting top students over the past couple of decades.  For one, increasing numbers of students want to live in a big urban center where they can pursue varied interests and get an edge in the job market when they graduate.

Global cities with their diverse populations are especially attractive to the growing numbers of international students studying outside their home countries.

The overall quality of life in many global cities has also improved over the past couple of decades. Some have made a concerted push to improve their appeal to students; and others have sought to upgrade and expand their university and higher education offerings. A good example is New York City's new tech campus on Roosevelt Island, where Cornell University and Technion will create a major new higher education presence. 

The relationship between global cities and leading universities in mutually reinforcing. Great universities thrive in great cities which attract people and business from around the world. But great cities also need more than business headquarters and cultural amenities. Top universities help them function as "global idea capitals," to use New York University President John Sexton's phrase, which adds to their appeal, cachet and economic prowess. 

About the Author

Richard Florida
Richard Florida

Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at New York University.

Most Popular

  1. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.

  2. Homeless individuals inside a shelter in Vienna in 2010
    Equity

    How Vienna Solved Homelessness

    What lessons could Seattle draw from their success?

  3. Life

    Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth

    Feelings of isolation are common in cities. Let’s take a look at how the built environment plays into that.

  4. Mack Donohue, who has been homeless since 2008, carries his belongings into a shelter in Boston, Massachusetts February 27, 2015.
    Equity

    Rethinking Homeless Shelters From the Ground Up

    One nonprofit wants to reward results, and change the funding model in the process.

  5. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.