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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

February 7, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Seattle runner-up for most-literate city title — again

With a Super Bowl title under our belt now, it’s doubtful that anyone in Seattle will care too much about our continued second-place showing: for the fourth year in a row, Seattle has been runner-up to Washington, D.C., in the annual America’s Most Literate Cities rankings. Seattle last topped the rankings in 2009.

Left Bank Books, in Pike Place Market since 1973 (Photo: Left Bank Books)

Independent bookstore Left Bank Books, in Pike Place Market since 1973 (Photo: Left Bank Books)

Central Connecticut State University, which conducts the study, ranked the 77 U.S. cities with populations of at least 250,000 by six key indicators of literacy: “bookstores, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources and newspaper circulation.”

Seattle scored in the top-20 for each category, and came in first for educational attainment. Our lowest ranked category, I regret to write, was for newspaper circulation per capita — so click this link for one easy way you can help Seattle get back to the top spot next year!

Here, then, are the 10 most-literate cities for 2013:

1. Washington

2. Seattle

3. Minneapolis

4. Atlanta (tie)

4. Pittsburgh (tie)

6. Denver

7. St. Paul

8. Boston

9. St. Louis

10. San Francisco

Portland dropped out of the top 10 this year, and is now in eleventh place. If the city wasn’t given extra credit for Powell’s Books, folks there probably should complain to the judges.

And are you wondering about America’s least-literate large city?  That dubious distinction goes to Bakersfield, Calif.

Comments | More in Reports | Topics: books, education, libraries

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