Minneapolis and St. Paul Climb the Ranks of America's Most Literate Cities

by Staff

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) released recently the results of its 2007 survey on America’s most literate cities, with Minneapolis earning the top spot over Seattle, which has placed first in the past two years. The survey was designed to measure "people’s use of their literacy," according to CCSU president Jack Miller’s letter on the survey Web site, and ranked cities within categories of library resources, Internet resources and use, number of booksellers, adult education level, newspaper circulation, and publication of magazines and journals.

Minneapolis has appeared consistently in the rankings, performed since 2003, and Miller called nearby St. Paul "the rising star of literate cities." St. Paul climbed to third-place, up six notches from 2005, due to increased library activity and periodical publication, and "is the only city in the United States in which Sunday newspaper circulation has increased per capita," said Miller. The Twin Cities house a number of small presses including Coffee House Press, Graywolf, and Milkweed Editions, and literary magazines such as Rain Taxi and Conduit.

While the Twin Cities rise in the literary ranks, the trend for much of the country tends to the opposite. Miller notes that while Americans are spending more time in school and earning higher degrees, educated individuals are not necessarily displaying "literate behaviors," as evidenced by reduced newspaper subscriptions and diminishing support of local bookstores. Readers are, however, more frequently accessing newspapers and books online, and the survey shows library circulation holding steady.

For full results of the survey, visit the CCSU Web site.