Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Most Literate U.S. Cities


The poll that publishes the most literate U.S. cities is not an oxymoron. Some cities have a justly earned reputation for having well-read denizens.

Drawing from a variety of available data resources, the America's Most Literate Cities Study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources.

The original study was published online in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Rankings 2005 and onwards were published online at Central Connecticut State University.

Dr. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, is the author of this study. Research for this edition of AMLC was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at CCSU.

And here are the chest-thumping results (for me) for 2009:

1. Seattle, WA 1 1.5 2 1 1
2. Washington, DC 2 3 5 3.5 3
3. Minneapolis, MN 3 1.5 1 2 2
4. Pittsburgh, PA 4 12 9 6 8
5. Atlanta, GA 5 6 8 3.5 4
6. Portland, OR 6 10.5 12 10 11
7. St. Paul, MN 7 4 3 5 9.5
8. Boston, MA 8 8 10 11 7
9. Cincinnati, OH 9 10.5 11 7 9.5
10. Denver, CO 10 7 4 8 6

Seattle's rankings for 2005 through 2009 have been: 1, 1, 2, 1.5, and 1.


8 comments:

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, what an interesting list, Keira. Congratulations to Seattle and I'm not surprised Washington is up there. I thought Washington was fabulous with those wonderful Museums. Minnesota - do you think it's the cold weather making people stay inside and look for amusement (apart from the obvious!)? Surprised NY and San Francisco aren't there. Both have such amazingly vibrant cultural lives - perhaps that's it, people are out sampling live music and theatre in those cities and aren't staying at home reading. I'm going to Denver in July - lovely to see that it's on the list!

Diane Gaston said...

Washington is number two!!!

I was surprised at some of the other cities on the list, but way to go them!!!

Keira Soleore said...

Seattle and Minneapolis I'm sure are on the list because of the weather. I mean, c'mon, it sucks at both those places. California or Florida never rate in such lists, because the weather's too good. But I'm stunned New York City isn't on the list--a blow for the publishing industry that's all there.

Keira Soleore said...

Hooray, Diane, for the two legacies of dear George to be the top two rated cities.

Magdalen said...

I don't live in a city, but I guarantee that no city around here is making that list. (I'm halfway between Scranton, Pennsylvania & Binghamton, NY -- and this area is definitely not a hotbed of literary activity...)

Keira Soleore said...

Magdalen, it's Seattle's crappy weather, unceasing rain for 10 months that is what imo leads to this high literary trend. Some days it's so miserable that even the intrepid mountaineers are huddled at home. So we drink coffee and read.

EmilyBryan said...

I feel so fortunate. I've lived in 4 of those cities! Seattle, St. Paul, Denver and now Boston.

Bear in mind this is not a listing of solely romance readers. If that were so, the south and midwest would light up like a rocket (I suspect that's what's driving Atlanta's rating)! By comparison on 12% of the populace in New England will admit to having read a romance!

Keira Soleore said...

Emily, welcome to the blog. You are indeed lucky for having lived or drawn to living in the most literate cities.

And heh, on the comment about romance reading. Seattle and the pretentious New England would rate dead last on that list.