Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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America’s Most Literate Cities, 2010

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.

Top 10 Cities
1 Washington, DC
2 Seattle, WA
3 Minneapolis, MN
4 Atlanta, GA
5 Pittsburgh, PA
6 San Francisco, CA
7 St. Paul, MN
8 Denver, CO
9 Portland, OR
10 St. Louis, MO

California Cities dominate the bottom
6 San Francisco
37 Oakland
38.5 San Diego
45 Sacramento
50.5 San Jose
59 Riverside
61 Los Angeles
64 Fresno
67 Santa Ana
68 Long Beach
72 Anaheim
73 Bakersfield

Public Libraries a True Bright Spot

Of the data he has tracked over the life of the rankings, Miller finds that the one bulwark sustaining American literacy is the public library. “In terms of accessibility and usability, libraries remain vibrant. Even in these economically embattled times, many cities appear to be providing their citizens with rich resources for developing and maintaining literate behaviors,” Miller notes.

The across-the-board-average for library branches per person remains virtually unchanged. Circulation has actually increased from 6.8 to 7.17 per person during that time. Some cities, most notably St. Paul, Boston, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, increased in both number of branches and circulation, posting numbers three to five times higher than such other cities as Detroit, San Antonio, and Santa Ana. READ MORE !

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.

The original study was published online in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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