Pigskin and Population: America’s 15 Fastest-Growing College Football Towns

Auburn football

Could the Auburn University football team’s national championship in the 2010-11 season have played a part in the recent population spike for the Auburn, AL, metro area?

From July 2010 to July 2014, the Auburn area’s population rose almost 10 percent, according to a LawnStarter study of U.S. Census Bureau data. The nearly double-digit rate makes the Auburn area the fastest-growing college football hub in the U.S., our analysis shows.

To come up with this ranking, LawnStarter examined the 2010-2014 population growth of every U.S. metro area that hosts an NCAA Division I FBS football team. For purposes of this analysis, we weeded out any metro area that had at least 1 million residents in 2014 so that we could keep the spotlight on regions where college sports truly are dominant.

‘Small-Town Charm’

Auburn Alabama

An aerial view of Auburn

Although Auburn hasn’t been ranked No. 1 in this season’s college football polls, it did end up grabbing the top spot in our ranking. From 2010 to 2014, the Auburn area gained more than 13,000 residents — and, presumably, more Auburn Tigers fans. Would a ’Bama or Georgia diehard dare move to the home of Toomer’s Corner?

So, what’s the appeal of Auburn?

“Auburn manages to maintain small-town charm while offering the amenities of a larger city,” says Jennifer Fincher, vice president of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.

“Besides being home to one of the best colleges in the South, we offer excellent K-12 schools, a growing industrial base, an award-winning hospital, gorgeous weather and an involved, caring community,” adds Fincher, who moved from Pennsylvania to Alabama in 2004. “Students want to stay and their parents come to retire. And who can argue with the draw of year-round college sports?”

Fastest-Growing College Football Towns

Here’s our list of the 15 fastest-growing college football towns in America.

1. Auburn, AL

Toomer's Corner

Junior League of Lee County

Major school: Auburn University
July 2010 metro population: 140,799
July 2014 metro population: 154,255
Population increase: 9.56%

2. Fort Collins, CO

Fort Collins CO


Major school: Colorado State University
July 2010 metro population: 300,484
July 2014 metro population: 324,122
Population increase: 7.87%

3. Provo, UT

Provo UT


Major school: Brigham Young University
July 2010 metro population: 529,830
July 2014 metro population: 571,460
Population increase: 7.86%

4. Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville Arkansas

University of Arkansas International Education

Major school: University of Arkansas
July 2010 metro population: 465,699
July 2014 metro population: 501,653
Population increase: 7.72%

5. Boise, ID

Boise ID

Flickr/Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Major school: Boise State University
July 2010 metro population: 617,923
July 2014 metro population: 664,422
Population increase: 7.53%

6. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

Durham NC

My NC Homes

Major schools: Duke University, University of North Carolina
July 2010 metro population: 508,063
July 2014 population: 542,710
Population increase: 6.82%

By the way, we service the Durham and Chapel Hill areas! Check out our Durham lawn care and Chapel Hill lawn care pages to get an instant quote. 

7. Boulder, CO

Boulder CO

University of Colorado

Major school: University of Colorado
July 2010 metro population: 295,967
July 2014 metro population: 313,333
Population increase: 5.87%

8. Bryan-College Station, TX



Major school: Texas A&M University
July 2010 metro population: 229,478
July 2014 metro population: 242,905
Population increase: 5.85%

9. Columbia, MO

University of Missouri

University of Missouri

Major school: University of Missouri
July 2010 metro population: 163,182
July 2014 metro population: 172,717
Population increase: 5.84%

10. Iowa City, IA

Iowa City

Green Building & Design

Major school: University of Iowa
July 2010 metro population: 155,560
July 2014 metro population: 164,357
Population increase: 5.66%

11. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Major school: Air Force Academy
July 2010 metro population: 650,351
July 2014 metro population: 686,908
Population increase: 5.62%

12. Morgantown, WV

Morgantown WV

Iron Cowboy

Major school: West Virginia University
July 2010 metro population: 130,328
July 2014 metro population: 137,251
Population increase: 5.31%

13. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln Nebraska

Flickr/Collin Ulness

Major school: University of Nebraska
July 2010 metro population: 302,922
July 2014 metro population: 318,945
Population increase: 5.29%

14. Manhattan, KS

Manhattan KS

Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Major school: Kansas State University
July 2010 metro population: 93,344
July 2014 metro  population: 98,091
Population increase: 5.09%

15. Ames, IA

Ames IA

Iowa State University Admissions

Major school: Iowa State University
July 2010 metro population: 89,596
July 2014 metro population: 94,073
Population increase: 5.00%

Top photo: Flickr/StevenV


John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of LawnStarter.com. Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.