Literate Twin Cities in top ten nationwide

The annual “America’s Most Literate Cities” report is out for 2012, and once again the Twin Cities have placed prominently.

Minneapolis remained in third place, while St. Paul climbed from 12th to sixth place.


Many people claim the cold weather in the Twin Cities helps foster a healthy readership.

(MPR Photo/Tom Weber)

The report is conducted by Dr. John Miller, President of Central Connecticut State University, and is compiled based on six indicators: number of bookstores, educational attainment, internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing, and newspaper circulation.

The study only looks at cities with a population of 250,000 and above.

Washington, D.C. took first place for the third year in a row; Seattle came in second.

According to President Miller, the ranking “presents a large-scale portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality. From this data we can better perceive the extent and quality of the long-term literacy essential to individual economic success, civic participation, and the quality of life in a community and a nation.”

Interestingly, while Minneapolis has remained consistently in the top three for the past eight years, St. Paul has bounced around a bit, from as high as 3rd place down to 12th place last year.

A closer look at the rankings finds that St. Paul claimed first place in the ‘booksellers’ category, but scored rather poorly in the categories of ‘education level’ and ‘internet resources.’

Miller does acknowledge that his study measures quantity but not quality, “which would be more subjective.”

Miller notes that spending on reading materials nationwide has declined 22% since 2000, while over the same period, federal statistics show spending on other forms of entertainment is up 25%.