Tuesday, January 6, 2009

America's Most Literate Cities

The annual ranking of America’s most literate cities has been announced. The top ten are:
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • St. Paul, MN
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Denver, CO
  • Boston, MA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Portland, OR

My city (Houston) comes in at #54. Despite the study's questionable methodology (Are the circulation stats of the local paper really connected to a city’s literacy?), the results are still interesting.

3 comments:

rjnagle said...

I wanted to mention some other things about how to determine "literateness" and how this might affect Houston.

I worked for an educational testing service in the 1990s where we found that median vocabulary levels for Houston were lower than that of other metropolitan cities like DC, Chicago, NY. We thought a contributing reason was the fact that people in other cities used mass transit heavily, whereas people in Houston did not. That meant that people in those cities were reading more, were more inclined to carry books or magazines or newspapers on the bus or train with them.

My guess is that median commute time for Houston would be pretty high. That could potentially mean more time for Houstonians listening to music or audio books.

Another thing. Finally, the existence of ebooks might skew any data about book purchases.

saveophelia said...

Proud to live in Seattle :)

I'm glad we made it up there!

Lisa said...

Very interesting! I'm going to have to post a bit about my city's rankings on my blog.