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Posted at 1:09 PM ET, 01/10/2011

D.C. named most literate U.S. city

By Valerie Strauss

Washington, D.C., is the country’s most literate city, according to a new study that focuses on a range of key indicators.

The annual study by researchers at Central Connecticut State University looked at U.S. cities with at least 250,000 residents and focused on newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

Here are the rankings for 2010:

1. Washington
2. Seattle
3. Minneapolis
4. Atlanta
5. Pittsburgh
6. San Francisco
7. St. Paul, Minn.
8. Denver
9.5 Portland, Ore.
9.5 St. Louis

The annual rankings began in 2005, and you can find the complete lists here.

In 2009, Seattle was No. 1 and Washington was No. 2. The 2010 list marks the first time the nation’s capital has topped the most literate list.

It isn’t really a surprise that the city has ranked no lower than 5 since 2005, because it has a highly educated population. In fact, Census Bureau data released last month show that the greater Washington region is the most educated in the country.

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By Valerie Strauss  | January 10, 2011; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Reading  | Tags:  d.c. literate, d.c. most literate cities, literacy, literacy and d.c., literate cities, most literate cities  
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Comments

What US city could possibly be more literate than Boston....more universities per hectare than any listed. Who conducts these studies?

Posted by: vegaviscount | January 10, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It is important, I think, for readers to understand that none of the indicators in this unscientific study measure actual *literacy* and that there is a very serious literacy crisis in Washington and in other urban areas.

Here in Washington, for example, while it is certainly true that many individuals with impressive educational achievements are drawn to this area, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that almost 20% of adults living in the District today have below basic literacy skills. Many of these adults are among our poorest citizens. Moreover, there is a dramatic disparity in educational opportunity in our low-income African American and Latino communities. Nearly all white non-Hispanic residents of the District have a post-secondary degree, but a very large number of minority District residents have not completed high school, and only a relatively small share have earned a postsecondary degree.

Posted by: jeffcrtr | January 10, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, here in Seattle, 50% of kids are not meeting state standards in math, science & language arts...that was true even when we were the most literate city. And that doesn't even touch on the idea that we aren't even educating kids to be literate in the first place. Out went rich curriculum and in came high stakes testing in 3 subjects and forget everything else.

Posted by: KateMartin | January 11, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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