Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our literate citizens

Because I find this interesting, here's a list of 10 of the nation's most literate cities.

1.5. Minneapolis
1.5. Seattle
3. Washington, D.C.
4. St. Paul, Minn.
5. San Francisco
6. Atlanta
7. Denver
8. Boston
9. St. Louis
10.5. Cincinnati
10.5. Portland

I must say, it's really hard to draw any conclusions from the list other than there are some really well-read people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. You'd initially expect large, metropolitan coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles to rank high but, no, there's a healthy helping of middle America cities like Denver, St. Louis and Cincinnati in the top 10.

In fact, Rust Belt surprises like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore - to name a few - appear on the overall list before N.Y. checks in at No. 24. L.A. ranks 56th.

It'd be really interesting to quantify the benefits of living in a city with a highly literate populace. Does that translate into a better local economy? Better public schools? Better cultural offerings? A better pool of potential mates? And what can a city and its government do to ensure that its residents are well-read?

Oh, and without being a jerk about it (honest), I had to note that all but two of the cities listed in the top 10 (11) were located in "blue" states. Coincidence or not?

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