America's Most Literate Cities Ranked
Posted 02/06/2014 09:46AM


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Central Connecticut State University’s (CCSU) annual America’s Most Literate Cities 2013 study highlights significant regional differences in literacy, in addition to its ever popular rankings of the nation’s 75 largest cities. The research, now in its 11th year, is conducted by CCSU President Jack Miller, Ph.D., and it is a measure of America’s social health by ranking the reading habits and resources.


The top 10 cities this year are:


1. Washington, DC

2. Seattle, WA

3. Minneapolis, MN

4. Atlanta, GA

4. Pittsburgh, PA

6. Denver, CO

7. St. Paul, MN

8. Boston, MA

9. St. Louis, MO

10. San Francisco, CA


This is the fourth appearance at the top of the listings by Washington, D.C. The complete rankings are available online at:



The study ranks cities based on research data for six key indicators of their citizens’ use of literacy: booksellers, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, newspaper circulation, and periodical publishing resources. The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city’s literacy.



For this edition of the study, Dr. Miller offers a regional outlook, and he finds clear, major regional differences in reading habits and resources for reading. Nearly 90 percent of the cities representing New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, for example, are above the median for all cities studied, and 55 percent of that region’s cities are in the top quartile, making that region the national leader for literate behaviors. By contrast, in the Southwest region (Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico), 86 percent of the cities are below the median of all the cities ranked, and none of the region’s cities make it into the top quartile, making it the lowest ranking region for literate behavior.


Miller also notes a revealing historical trend: the oldest cities in the Northeast (Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, for example) have some of the highest literacy practice levels. But moving from Northeast to the Southwest, there are fewer and fewer highly ranked cities. This suggests to Miller that “it may take a very long history to develop a culture of literate practice”—to develop, in other words, the vital tradition of reading that generates both readers and resources for reading.


Miller also discusses other details emerging from the regional perspective, and they are available on the America’s Most Literate Cities 2013 website:



The first America’s Most Literate Cities study was published in 2003. Research for this edition of the study was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at CCSU. The complete rankings are available online at: For more information about the 2013 rankings, call: 860-832-0065; or email: