National literacy list: D.C. gets top honors; Not tied to wealth

WASHINGTON – Book nerds: Today you get to hold your head up high. Our nation’s capital has been ranked as the most literate city, according to a new study that also shows literary enlightenment is not necessarily tied to wealth.

Washington, D.C. beat out other notoriously brainy bastions such as Seattle and Minneapolis to clinch the top honors on the Central Connecticut State University list.

The study, which only analyzes cities with a population of 250,000 or more, looks at newspaper readership, bookstore and library patronage, publishing, educational and Internet resources to produce its results.

These factors stand for a great deal more than just reading, the study authors say, and are independent of a city’s wealth.

“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,” writes Dr. Jack Miller, CCSU president, on the university’s website.

Miller points out that Cleveland, which ranks second lowest for median family income, earned the 13th spot based on its first-rated library system and strong news circulations. Anchorage, however, has the fifth highest family income, and is ranked 61st for literacy.

It’s been a long slog to the top. D.C. slowly climbed the list from fifth in 2007, to third in 2008 and second in 2009. It received the gold for the first time last year.

Seattle has danced around the first position, claiming it in 2005, 2006 and 2009, not falling farther than second place. Atlanta and Boston round out the top five.

Texas and California claim the five least literate cities, with Fresno, Stockton, El Paso, Corpus Christi and Bakersfield.

To see the complete list, follow this link.

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