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Ann Arbor vs. Evanston – How Do We Compare?

September 26, 2018 Regional Updates
North Western University and UofM comparison

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?

This week, the Wolverines travel to Evanston Illinois to play Northwestern. UofM holds a comfortable series lead at 57-15 and has won the previous 5 games against the Wildcats. It’s been three years, however, so cautious optimism is probably a bit safer than full-blown arrogance.

Northwestern is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and remains the only private university in the conference. Though Evanston is smaller than Ann Arbor, it has a decidedly college-town feel, and often shows up on the same “Best Places to Live” and “Top Downtowns” lists as we do. One major difference is the availability of public transportation – Evanston is accessible by ‘L’ train and Metra line to Chicago, and explains why twice as many people commute via public transport in Evanston than in Ann Arbor. (Source 1 and 2)

Evanston is also the backdrop of many classic movies – notably Sixteen Candles, Home Alone, and Mean Girls.

(for any Mean Girls fans out there, it’s almost October 3rd!)


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 EstimatesWe 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.