Two separate studies were released this weekend and the results are conflicting, placing Oxford in the elite cities of Mississippi but excluding it from the top college towns across the country.
A study done by Credit Donkey on the Top 10 Cities in Mississippi lists Oxford as the best in the state, while another by Livability ranks the Top 10 College Towns and Oxford did not make the cut this year. In 2012, the same Livability report ranked Oxford No. 2, and the town was not ranked in 2013.
Kiplinger released a study last month of the Top 10 College Towns to Retire to, and Oxford topped that list, too. So, why the discrepancies?
Credit Donkey’s study ranked the Mississippi cities based on crime rate, commute time, income, education level and restaurants per capita. According to the study with data from the U.S. Census, the odds of being the victim of a violent crime in Oxford is one in 2,429, commute times average 13 minutes, average income is about $34,500, more than half of the population has a bachelor’s degree and there’s a restaurant for every 223 residents.
“Those are the things that make Oxford great,” Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce vice president Pam Swain said. “There are so many national publications that are definitely taking notice of us, and that’s continuing to grow. We give credit to the people that live here. Our people are unique, our community is unique and the atmosphere we create not only for those who live here, but also those who visit here, is what makes us such a wonderful place.”
In Livability’s study, the criterion used was student population, percentage of 24-to-35 year olds, affordable housing, walkability, education sector jobs, educational attainment and entertainment venues. Ames, Iowa, won the race for best college town, and the only SEC city on the list is Fayetteville, Arkansas. Hattiesburg, home of University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University, rounded out the list at No. 10.
Over the years, Oxford and the University of Mississippi have been recognized dozens of times for being an ideal Southern town and college campus, and Swain said being left off of one list doesn’t detract from the dozens that do include Oxford among its top 10.
“I don’t think it’s a negative to us, I just think the more media we do get out there about our little town, the more we are going to continue to pop up and the less we’ll get looked over,” she said. “Not making a list, it can be disappointing, but we know the more lists we continue to make, the more we’re going to pop up on the other lists because we’re getting on people’s radars.”
Amelia Camurati is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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