Who knew? A new survey just revealed that, for the second year in a row, Washington, DC ranks as the most literate city in America. Here are the top 10:
1. Washington, D.C. (same as in 2010)
2. Seattle (same as in 2010)
3. Minneapolis (same as in 2010)
4. Atlanta (same as in 2010)
5. Boston (up from No. 12 in 2010)
6. Pittsburgh (down from No. 5 in 2010)
7. Cincinnati (up from No. 11 in 2010)
8. St. Louis (up from No 9.5 in 2010)
9. San Francisco (down from No. 6 in 2010)
10. Denver (down from No. 8 in 2010)
For the past nine years, Jack Miller, the president of Central Connecticut State University, has taken the U.S. literary pulse based on six indicators: number of bookstores, libraries, newspapers, magazines, educational attainment, and the Internet. The goal? To determine what literary resources each city makes available to people who live there and how widely its residents take advantage of them.
How important is all this? Very! according to Jack, his study, “attempts to capture one critical index of our nation’s social health—the literacy of its major cities (population of 250,000 and above).” The study “measures people’s use of their literacy and thus 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.”
Bravo! What our boy Jack is saying here is that how well-read we are really matters, not just in terms of financial success, but to our “quality of life” and our “cultural vitality. Who we are, not just as individuals, but as a nation, depends on whether or not we care about words and ideas. Write on!