12.14.2005

The nation's most literate cities, 2005

As someone who loves to read, this study interested me. The study was done by the president of Central Connecticut State University, and the results--the top ten most literate American cities, in order--are:

Seattle, WA
Minneapolis, MN
Washington, DC
Atlanta, GA
San Francisco, CA
Denver, CO
Boston, MA
Pittsburgh, PA
Cincinnati, OH
St. Paul, MN

I am actually not so surprised that Boston made it but New York did not. Of course, an anecdote does not make a fact, but during my working days in Boston, I noticed that almost everyone on the T* was reading (either a book or a newspaper). The same was not true on the buses, for various reasons. Fewer people read on the subway in New York City, even though there are still a fair number of people reading. I also noticed that six of the ten cities get really cold in the winter, although they are not the coldest cities in the US by any means. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

The ranking was slightly different in 2004, when the previous study on this subject was done.

If you go to the links on the left side of the page for the 2005 study, you'll also find out interesting things like the ten American cities with the most booksellers. I was very surprised that Boston did not make that list, or New York, for that matter. (Even though fewer people seem to read here, there are a lot of bookstores. Or so I thought. I guess if it's calculated per capita that probably works against New York.) On the same page, you'll find this associated "factoid":
The presence of retail book stores is positively associated with quality of libraries. So, it is not a question of whether people buy books or check them out: they do both or neither.
Anyway, I'll leave the rest for you to explore. Hint: All the fun factoids are gathered in one place here.

Hat tip to CNet News, a.k.a. news.com.com!

*When I first moved to New York City, I kept calling the subway the "T," much to the amusement of my native New York friends. I still sometimes do, when I'm tired enough.

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