Happy Valley by the Numbers

Both Penn State and Happy Valley have long been favorites on "best of" lists. And it's no wonder – somehow we have found the perfect combination of big city fun and small town benefits, with college town energy added in like a shot of adrenaline. Each of us can tick off the things that we think make it the best – football, the seasons, entertainment, the food. But what makes websites like businessinsider.com, Nationalgeographic.com, Money.com and CNN sit up and take notice? Read on!

State College – Best in adventure, safety, smarts and stress-free living

Psychology Today: Least Stressful City in the US - #1

In 1988, Psychology Today started the trend of noticing that Happy Valley was just plain happy, naming it the least stressful city in the country. It was based on low rates of crime, suicide, divorce and alcoholism, and is still one of the most quoted rankings I found online to this day. Stay happy, Happy Valley! 

Business Insider: Twenty Best College Towns In America - #5

Ranking at number five, State College gets high points from Business Insider for high research capacity, accessible transportation and concentration of college students

Movoto: Ten Most Exciting Places in Pennsylvania – #4

With dubious distinctions going to West Chester and Lancaster (really?), fourth place goes to State College, named one of the top most exciting places in the state for its nightlife, music venues, and sheer energy of 80% of the population being between the ages of 18-34. 

Sperling's Best Places: Least Stressful Cities in US - #3

In Sperlings' Best Places, State College is named in the top three of least stressful small metropolitan areas. 

National Geographic: Adventure Town

In true wanderlust fashion, National Geographic doesn't bother rank it, but tells just tells you to come spend the weekend. “Ah, to be young and live in a rugged corner of the Alleghenies.”

American Institute for Economic Research: Best College Towns - #3

American Institute for Economic Research names it number five, citing ample opportunities for professional and educational growth. 

Lumosity: Smartest City – #2

Lumosity ranks State College at number two based on de-identified data from 3 million players of its Lumosity games. The data objectively measured real differences in cognitive performance across geographic areas by examining scores from users’ first few sessions playing games across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention and problem solving.  

Congressional Quarterly: Safest metropolitan area - #1 (2009), #3 (2010)

Congressional Quarterly combines six crime categories to compile a list of the safest cities, and listed State College at number one in 2009 and number three in 2010.

BestCollegeReviews: Fifty Best College Towns in America – #8

It's one of the smartest towns, has one of the best music scenes in the country and a safe, small town to boot, it raves (and still only give it 8th ranking!). Also notes Raytheon and Accuweather for economic boosts and calls State College “a college town in the truest sense of the word.” 

Movoto: The 10 Happiest Small Places in America – #1

Citing low stress, low commute and walkability and home owners, Movoto declared that Happy Valley is truly the happiest! 

CNNMoney: Best Places to Live and Launch - #65

CNNMoney lists the highly educated workforce and resources of Penn State as benefits in its top 100 places to live and launch, as well a 'vibrant downtown' and exploring the beautiful Allegheny region.

Money Magazine: Best Places to Live - #5

Ranking northeast small cities, State College came in a cool fifth in this Money Magazine survey. 

Penn State: Getting high grades for good hires, 'true college town' atmosphere, and graduation rates

Wall Street Journal: Recruiter Ranking - #1

A 2010 Wall Street Journal survey found that Penn State is the number one among recruiters from leading companies, nonprofits and government agencies. Recruiters were asked to identify schools whose bachelor degrees were best trained and educated and best able to succeed once hired. 

U.S. News and World Report: Best National Universities - #48

US. News and World Report praises the over 950 clubs and organizations, Thon, and bustling small town atmosphere. 

The World University Rankings: Top 100 Universities Worldwide - #58

Running against universities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany and more, Penn State ranked 58th  based on teaching, research, citations, industry income, and international outlook.

BestColleges.com: Best Online Engineering Programs - #25

Recognized because prospective students can explore engineering degree tracks in mechanical, nuclear, software and systems engineering; business-oriented students can enroll in a master of engineering management degree program; and World Campus students have access to several online student services, including an IT help desk, a digital resource library and a new student orientation, Penn State ranked 25 in the country. 

U.S. News and World Report: Best Colleges – #14, Best Colleges for Veterans #2

In U.S. News and World Report's 2015 Best Colleges rankings, Penn State ranked 14th in best public universities, and No. 2 nationally among "Best Colleges for Veterans," schools that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees.

Kiplinger Personal Finance: Best Value - #53

Kiplinger's Personal Finance named Penn State in its top 100, one of only three Pennsylvania schools to make the list. Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to a number of standards, including admission rates, test scores of incoming freshmen, freshman retention rate, student-faculty ratios, and four- and six-year graduation rates. Cost criteria include tuition and fees, room and board, financial aid available and student loan debt at graduation. 

THON: Student-Run Philanthropy - #1

THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, donating more than $114 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital since 1977. 

Business Insider: Top 20 Best Campuses in US - #7

This 2013 Business Insider survey lauded job fairs, post-grad jobs and large student bodies to put Penn State at the top of its "20 Best Campuses."  

Performance Magazine: Top Grossing Venue – #1

In 1996, Performance Magazine named Bryce Jordan Center as the top grossing venue for its size in the nation, with such mid-nineties hits as The Goo Goo Dolls, Tim McGraw, The Eagles and a sold-out performance of Reba McEntire. 

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