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Ann Arbor Spark

November 21, 2018

Ann Arbor vs. Columbus – How Do We Compare?

Our football blog series is back for the third straight year! As before, we’ll use the football season as an impetus to compare Ann Arbor to cities and towns on this year’s schedule. And the question is always – how does Ann Arbor compare to other college towns in the US?

So many emotions swirling around for this post… the end of the regular football season, the end of this year’s blog series, and the epic rivalry between Ohio State and the University of Michigan. This rivalry goes back a long time – and the games are always scheduled for the end of the season, for a reason.

The Wolverines vs. the Buckeyes is one of the longest and most famous rivalries in American collegiate sports. Over the entire course of their rivalry, Michigan leads 58-6-49, though Ohio State has won the last 6 matches.

In terms of our economic competition, Columbus and Ann Arbor are quite different cities.

  • Columbus is much bigger than Ann Arbor, about 8 times bigger, to be precise. And it’s also a state capital, and state government plays a large part in the economy.
  • In addition, there are four Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Columbus: Nationwide, American Electric Power, L Brands, and Big Lots.
  • Ohio State has about 15,000 more students than U of M and is the 3rd largest university in the US for enrollment (behind Texas A&M and University of Central Florida).
  • Both Columbus and Ann Arbor show up on Livability’s 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs, highlighting the attractiveness of both places for entrepreneurship.

Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy the game!

Data Dive

Where do we get our numbers? And what do they mean?

  • Population comes from the US Census, 2017 Population Estimates. Check out Ann Arbor’s data here.
  • Enrollment comes from each university’s website (what they report on enrollment).
  • Research spend comes from the National Science Foundation Rankings by Total R&D Expenditures.
  • Educational attainment comes from the US Census 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. We look specifically at the population over the age of 25, and the highest level attained. Check out Ann Arbor’s data here.
  • The rankings come from US News and World Report unless otherwise mentioned.