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August 15-31, 2004 Edition
Most Literate CitiesWhitewater, WI/08/03/04A new study on America’s most literate cities, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, concludes that Minneapolis ranks highest for being most literate, and El Paso, TX the lowest.
Examining 79 of the largest US cities, the university researchers looked at the extent to which residents behave in a literate sense, such as buying newspapers and books or using the library. The top ten most literate cities based on 22 factors were:1. Minneapolis 2. Seattle 3. Pittsburgh 4. Madison, Wis. 5. Cincinnati 6. Washington 7. Denver 8. Boston 9. Portland, Ore. 10. San Francisco
Many top ranked cities also have some of the nation’s most highly educated and affluent residents, the study said, compared to low-ranking cities, such as the Texas-Mexico border town of El Paso, which attracts many poor and uneducated immigrants.
The study was drawn from U.S. Census and Education Department reports, as well as library resources, magazine and journal publishers, and newspaper circulation rates.
Jack Miller, a veteran researcher and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, said the nation places too much emphasis upon test scores and not enough on whether people behave in literate ways.
The study, now in its second year, concentrates on cities with populations in excess of 200,000.
Larger cities seem to be lower on the scale of literate behavior, with New York ranked 49th, Los Angeles, 68th, and Chicago 58th.
Most cities at the top of the list are generally characterized as “yuppie magnets” that attract highly educated, relatively young and affluent professionals working in creative jobs. The study also notes that the most literate cities are those with the fewest children. Cities like Minneapolis are becoming colonies of the highly educated.
For more information on the report, go to www.uww.edu/npa/cities
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