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Over 100 years ago, Conway made the strategic decision to pursue institutions of higher learning as a means of growing the Conway economy. That choice has paid countless dividends ever since. As the colleges have grown, so has their economic impact. Perhaps more importantly, over time they have laid the foundation for Conway’s modern workforce.
The presence of Hendrix College, the University of Central Arkansas, and Central Baptist College is without a doubt the reason Conway has such a remarkably young (median age 27.3) and educated (almost 40 percent with at least a bachelor’s degree) population. Those two qualities stand out nationally as the city competes for jobs in today’s economy. The result is a regional economy that has been recognized as one of the most diverse in the nation.
Conway has enjoyed a decades-long reputation for growth. With an estimated 2015 population of 64,980, the city has doubled in size since the mid-1990s. It is among the nation’s top 20 percent of fastest growing cities with populations over 50,000. Conway’s growth has been driven by its regional economy, central location, public school system, and young population. As the city has added people and amenities, its regional influence has also grown. Conway’s labor, retail, and health care trade area now includes Russellville (45 miles west), Heber Springs (40 miles north), and Maumelle (20 miles south).
When Travelocity recognized Conway as No. 2 on their “Most Giving Cities in the U.S.” list, they were telling the world something people here already knew. For Conway residents – new and established – giving, volunteering, and celebrating with each other is a way of life. Whether it’s a special election to invest in schools and infrastructure or a private capital campaign to benefit a nonprofit, Conway has a demonstrated record of success. The residents here continuously plan for and invest in improvements to the place they call home.
Together, the dynamics of growth, education, and community-mindedness create a town that is ready to meet people where they are. Professional, educational, and civic opportunities are around every corner. Discovering and seizing those opportunities is an experience every Conway resident should share.