Who says you need to leave Illinois in order to get the full college experience?

That's because some of the best towns for a great time in college and after graduation are in Illinois.

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash
Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash
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24/7 Wall St. took a look at the 30 Best College Towns in America, and wouldn't you know it, three are in The Land of Lincoln.

24/7 Wall St.:

To identify the best college towns in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed U.S. Census Bureau data about the affordability, economic conditions, health, safety, commutability, and arts, entertainment, and dining options in college towns across the country. We considered cities, towns, and villages with at least 30,000 residents and where at least 25% of the population are enrolled in college.

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash
Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash
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Coming in at #30 is the one closest to me, DeKalb.

With Northern Illinois University in town, nearly 30% of DeKalb's population are students, and nearly 40% of people have a bachelor's degree.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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While unemployment is nearly 10%, DeKalb makes up for it by having 163 bars and restaurants per100,000 people.

Right in front of DeKalb is Normal, coming in at #29, home of Illinois State University. 32% of people in Normal attend the university, and almost 50% of the town has their bachelor's degree.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Unemployment is below the norm in Normal, just under 3% and there are more bars and restaurants per 100,000 in Normal than there are in DeKalb, giving it a slight edge in the rankings.

The last university on the list in Illinois is located in Urbana, home of the University of Illinois. Just over 40% of the population attends U of I, and over 60% of residents have a bachelor's degree.

Photo by Justin Shen on Unsplash
Photo by Justin Shen on Unsplash
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Unemployment is higher than Normal, but lower than DeKalb, at just a tick over 6% but the bars and restaurants make up for it. There are 200 per 100,000 people in Urbana.

Photo by Justin Shen on Unsplash
Photo by Justin Shen on Unsplash
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I've visited all three college towns, and if I had to make a pick I would more than likely say Normal is the best in Illinois.

Which Illinois college town is your favorite?

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