Mpls still third-most literate city; St. Paul re-emerges from stone age

St. Paul residents haven't forgotten how to read after all.
St. Paul residents haven't forgotten how to read after all.
Image by Tatiana Craine -- photos from Twitter accounts of nSeika, *clairity*, and IrishFireside.

Central Connecticut State University's annual literacy survey shows Minneapolis holding steady as the third-most literate city in the county, once again behind first-place D.C. and second-place Seattle.

LAST YEAR'S RESULTS: Minneapolis 3rd most literate city; St. Paul slipping back into stone age

Apparently, St. Paul residents read a lot more last year than they did in 2011, as after a one-year sojourn in the stone age (i.e., out of the top 10), the capital city is back up to sixth place.

According to the study's summary, the ranking criteria includes 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."

Here's how Mayor Chris Coleman reacted to St. Paul's resurgence:

But study author Dr. Jack Miller thinks the national literacy trends are troubling. From the study's summary:

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that Americans continue to move away from traditional reading materials--further away, perhaps, from what we have understood to be the basic literate behavior of sustained, engaged reading. As average income after taxes has risen more than 48%, 2000 to 2012, the amount Americans spend on average for reading materials (books, newspapers, and magazines, principally) has declined more than 30% (when e-readers are included, the decline is still 22%). It's not that Americans lack time for reading. Annual expenditures for entertainment other than reading has grown 25% since 2000, and annual spending on audio visual equipment such as TVs and cable service is 8 and a half times greater than that spent on reading--more than double the ratio in 2000. And as the New York Times recently reported, "more Americans belong to a fantasy sports league (10.6 million) than belong to book clubs (5.7 million)" (according to the 2013 Statistical Abstract of the US).

Hey now... I like to think of myself as a pretty literate chap, but while you'd need two hands to count my fantasy teams, the number of book clubs I'm in is equal to the number of Super Bowls the Vikings have won.

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