People walking across College Avenue

Home in Happy Valley

State College – also known as Happy Valley – makes an appearance on many Best lists because of its friendly atmosphere, rich connection to education, natural resources, and strong economy.

  • #2: Smartest Cities (Lumosity, 2013)
  • #3: Best College Towns (American Institute for Economic Research, 2013)
  • #3: Safest Metropolitan Areas in the United States (CQ Press, 2013)
  • #4: Most Secure Small Cities (population less than 150,000) in America (Farmers Insurance, 2013)
  • #8: Best College Towns in America (, 2014)
  • #14 Best Small Places for Education (Forbes, 2014)
  • #48 Best Small Places for Job Growth (Forbes, 2014)
  • #85 Best Small Places for Business and Careers (Forbes)
  • #164 Best Small Places for Cost of Doing Business (Forbes, 2014)

At a Glance

  • Metro Population: 156,100
  • Major Industries: Education
  • Gross Metro Product: $7.6 Billion
  • Median Household Income: $49,466
  • Median Home Price: $171,900
  • Unemployment: 4.1%
  • Job Growth (2013): 0.9%
  • Cost of Living: 2.7% below US average
  • Public School Spending: $17,641/student (US average: $12,435)
  • Public School Student/Teacher Ratio: 13.5:1
  • College Attainment: 39.4%
  • Average Commute: 21 minutes
  • Crimes per 100,000 Residents: 1,516
  • Average Days Above 90°F: 8 (nat’l avg: 37)
  • Average Days Below 32°F: 132 (nat’l avg: 88)

Data is for State College metro area. Sources: Moody’s Analytics; Sperling’s BestPlaces; U.S. Census. Numbers as of July 2014.

What to Do

Whether you are a nature lover or prefer the arts, Central Pennsylvania boasts a wide variety of activities to appeal to almost every taste.

For the Outdoorsperson

For the Arts, History and Music Buff

For the Foodie

For the Whole Family

For the Sports Fan



Local Government


Business Development



The School of Engineering Design and Innovation delivers effective engineering education and unrivaled research opportunities through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. The school offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design and Innovation

304 Engineering Design and Innovation Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952