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Rolla Area

Rolla - One of the Top 100 U.S. Small Towns

Rolla's tops and that's a documented fact.

If you're thinking about moving or just moved to Rolla, you are just about to make the right choice because you're thinking about one of the best small towns in America.

This is not mere hyperbole from the hometown newspaper or the chamber of commerce or the city council.

Rolla is documented as one of The 100 Best Small Towns in America in a book of that name written by Norman Crampton.

In fact, Rolla is documented twice, once in the 1993 edition of Crampton's book, and again in the all new second edition that came out in 1995.

Now, if he comes out with another edition, Rolla might not be included. Not because it won't be worthy of inclusion, but because Rolla is on the cusp of losing its status as a small town.

Crampton sets 15,000 population as the dividing line between small town and small city, and he doesn't rank communitites of greater than 15,000 in his top 100.

Because people like you are discovering the wonders of life in the Rolla area, this small town is steadily growing toward that 15,000 mark.

Overall, Rolla ranked 70th among the 100 best towns in the United States. Only two other communities in Missouri were included in Crampton's book.

Crampton made his selection for the top 100 towns based on eight criteria. Here are those criteria, and how Rolla ranked in each of those categories in the second edition of the Crampton book:

  • Annual growth rate: Rolla ranked 67th with its 0.5 percent rate.

  • Per capita income: Rolla ranked 71st with its $10,247 income per person.

  • Bank deposits per capita: Rolla ranked 33rd with its $26,317 in the bank per person.

  • Proportion of residents in the 25-34 age group: Rolla ranked 54th with its 15 percent.

  • Crime rate: Rolla ranked 80th with 4,591 per 100,000 population in the county.

  • Number of physicians: Rolla ranked 55th with 108 per 100,000 population.

  • Public school expenditure per pupil: Rolla ranked 69th with $3,961 spent per pupil.

  • Proportion of residents with a bachelor's degree or higher: Rolla ranked 29th with 18.3 percent having at least a college bachelor's degree.

Let's be a little more specific about what makes Rolla great: national Blue Ribbon schools, state Gold Star schools, the presence of a leading technological university, a regional medical center, a crime rate that is so low that it's virtually non-existent, a recession-proof economy thanks to the presence of thousands of government jobs, beautiful Ozarks scenery of mountains and clear streams.

Moreover, this is a community that values and promotes the arts, which explains the number of concerts, lectures, and exhibitions held here annually.

Article from the Welcome Newcomers publication available at the Rolla Chamber of Commerce. Reprinted with permission of the Rolla Daily News.

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