Colleges and universities can have a significant impact on local demographic and economic statistics. College towns tend to see inflated poverty rates: more off-campus students (as share of population) corresponds to higher poverty rates. In Boone, North Carolina, for example, off-campus students at Appalachian State University make up 57% of the local population* and the local poverty rate is 62%.
Some of these poor individuals may be college students who are choosing not to work or working only part-time, relying instead on a combination of loans or grants, credit cards, and savings and parental assistance when it is available. Others may be college students for whom poverty is a very serious challenge. But many are not college students at all. Understanding the impact of college students on local poverty rates is vital for local leaders to fully understand and track the economic well-being of their population.
Using the recently released 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates, the U.S. Census Bureau published two tables that identify counties and communities where off-campus college students significantly impact local poverty rates. Limiting their evaluation to locations with populations of 10,000 or more, the report found:
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Categories: Economic Data
Tags: American Community Survey, college towns, poverty rates, U.S. Census Bureau
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