Newswise — A national survey announced today in “USA Today” measures a key component in America’s social health by ranking the culture and resources for reading in America’s largest cities. The study’s author, Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, also compares the literacy rankings with other quality of life measures and finds, for instance, that cities that rank high for literacy also tend to feature great singles’ scenes: Boston, Seattle, Washington, and Atlanta all made the top ten in literacy and as best places for singles.
The study -- “America’s Most Literate Cities 2009” -- identifies the top ten cities in this order:
St. Paul, MN
Seattle and Minneapolis have often traded the number 1 and 2 spots over the seven years the survey has been conducted. Washington DC makes its highest appearance this year at #2.
The national survey develops a statistical profile of cities with populations of 250,000 or more. This is the seventh year of the study, which is available online at: www.ccsu.edu/AMLC09.
According to Miller, “This study attempts to capture one critical index of our nation’s well-being -- the literacy of its major cities--by focusing on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city’s “long-term literacy”—a set of factors measuring the ways people use their literacy—and thus presents a large-scale portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality.”
For the 2009 edition, Miller also examined how well the most literate cities fared in other quality of life surveys (see website for details). Miller discovered that “quality tends to be associated with quality,” and highly literate cities often rank high in other quality of life metrics: Cities ranked in the top 10 most literate tend to offer the most active singles’ scenes (Boston, Seattle, Washington, and Atlanta), are safer (Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Denver, and Cincinnati), more walk-able (Seattle, Washington, DC, Portland, Boston, and Denver), and healthier (Washington, DC and Denver). They are not, however, immune to financial hard times: only #2 Washington DC has even relatively low unemployment.
Population growth led to the addition of 4 cities to the list this year: New Orleans has rejoined the list for the first time since Katrina’s devastation, and Lincoln, NE, Greensboro, NC, and Henderson, NV extend the list to 75 cities.
For more information about the 2009 America’s Most Literate Cities rankings, call: 860-832-0065; or email: AMLC@CCSU.edu.