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Ann Arbor vs. State College – how do we compare?

October 18, 2017 Regional Updates
Pennsylvania State and UofM comparison

Our football blog series is back! Like last year, we’re using the football season as an impetus to ask ourselves how we stack up against other, similar regions. How does Ann Arbor compare to other college towns in the US?

Unlike last week’s game against Indiana (Bloomington), State College is not a common comparison to Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is close to 2.5x bigger than State College. However, in terms of enrollment, Penn State is actually bigger than U of M. Enrollment at Penn State actually exceeds the population of State College, PA.* When you think about it, the town’s name makes a lot more sense. However, both cities are evenly matched in terms of educational attainment (not surprising, given we’re both college towns). It may confuse some readers that Penn State has an address in University Park, though it is located in State College. 

The university has a post office address of University Park, Pennsylvania. When Penn State changed its name from College to University in 1953, its president sought to persuade the town to change its name as well. A referendum failed to yield a majority for any of the choices for a new name, and so the town remains State College. After this, Penn State requested a new name for its on-campus post office from the U.S. Post Office Department. The post office is the official home of ZIP code 16802 (University Park).

Penn State has been famous recently for the unprecedented level of student philanthropy that emanates from the THON organization, which raises money for children and families impacted by childhood cancer. In 2016, THON raised over $10 million for the cause, and since its inception in 1977, it has raised over $136 million. Inspired by the THON program, U of M’s DMUM program was founded in 1997, and has raised over $5 million since then. We’ll get there someday!

*(For the data heads out there, population in the Census is usually calculated in a town by excluding college students – check out this article to go deep into the rabbit hole of how that can be problematic. We’ll be waiting right here when you get back…)

Here’s how U of M and Ann Arbor compare to Penn State and State College:

ICYMI – Here are links to this year’s series on our athletic (and economic) competition!