As college students return to school for fall classes, SpareFoot, an online marketplace for self-storage, has ranked the top 20 fastest-growing college towns in the United States by comparing census data from 2000 and 2010. Raleigh, N.C., ranked first with the largest population growth rate, 46.29 percent, in the last decade.
Rounding out the top five were: College Station, Texas (38.25 percent); Las Cruces, N.M. (31.44 percent); Gainesville, Fla. (30.29 percent); and San Marcos, Texas (29.25 percent).
SpareFoot ranked only cities that have a main campus for a public, four-year university and a residential population of at least 20,000. The analysis does not include cities like Atlanta, for example, because although theyre home to major universities, their economies are more diversified than those of traditional college towns, company officials said in a press release.
College students generally provide self-storage operators with seasonal rental business in areas near campuses or when parents decide to store their childrens property outside their home when they go away to school.
College towns are so appealing because they combine the charm and livability of a small city with the sophistication and amenities of a much larger metropolitan area, said researcher Bert Sperling, founder of BestPlaces.net, a website that provides information and analysis on population and location data. Cities with colleges and universities are healthier financially because the local school provides a stable economic base when recessions hit. In fact, enrollment often increases when the job market tightens.
The full Top 20 ranking can be viewed on SpareFoots website.
Based in Austin, Texas, and founded in 2008, SpareFoot.com helps consumers find and reserve self-storage units, with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals. With a network of more than 6,500 storage facilities ranging from mom-and-pop operations to real estate investment trusts, the company reaches prospective storage renters though partnerships with brands including SelfStorage.com, Apartments.com and Penske Truck Rental.