Posted Dec. 28, 2007- With 24-hour TV stations, computer games and rising immigrant populations who tend to work two and three jobs, fewer and fewer people in the United States are finding the time to pick up a book.
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But don’t count the residents of Minneapolis among the non-readers. In fact, Minneapolis is the most literate city in America, edging out Seattle to claim the top spot, a new poll shows.
By measuring several reading resources – newspaper circulation, the number of bookstores and libraries, periodicals, education and Internet use – in cities with more than 250,000 people, the poll ranked St. Paul, Minn.; Washington, D.C.; and St. Louis behind Minneapolis and Seattle in the top five.
Those cities were followed by San Francisco; Atlanta; Pittsburgh; and Boston.
In last place was Stockton, Calif., in 69th place, according to the poll.
It also showed that people are reading less, even though education levels are improving.
"They're both pretty good in everything and that's how you end up getting a high score overall," John Miller, the president of Central Connecticut State University and the author of the annual ranking of America's Most Literate Cities, told Reuters News.
Miller said that declining newspaper circulations and the dwindling number of bookstores helped to pull rankings lower.
But, Miller noted, magazine publications rose in 87 percent of the cities, and people are still going to libraries – even though for many the public library is the best the way they log on to the Internet for free, which is one reason libraries are increasing Internet service.
The cities that ranked the poorest are in southwestern states, such Texas and California, and Miller’s not surprised.
"When you've got recent immigrants and people working three jobs trying to just make a living, they're not the same people to likely be subscribing to a daily newspaper and hanging out at a bookstore," he says.
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