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America’s Most Literate Cities, 2006: Cleveland ranks #14 overall and #1 for libraries
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 01/05/2007 - 19:05.
The President of the Cleveland Club of Washington, DC, just forwarded me notice that Cleveland has been ranked #14 nationwide in the 2006 Central Connecticut State University analysis of "America's Most Literate Cities". From their website, explaining the analysis, the author, Central Connecticut State University President John Miller, explains: "This study attempts to capture one critical index of our nation’s social health—the literacy of its major cities (population of 250,000 and above)". Cleveland ranked #14 overall (two positions better than in 2005). The ranking reflects an average of scores for six key indicators of literacy, listed here with Cleveland's comparative ranking for each category: #10 for newspaper circulation, #15 for number of bookstores, #1 for library resources, #4 for periodical publishing resources (tied with NYC), #50 for educational attainment, and #47 for Internet resources. Obviously, we need to focus more on educational attainment and internet resources. Read more of these scorings and the methodology below.
Obviously, the real shining accomplishment found in this is our #1 ranking for libraries - not a surprise but certainly a status deserving considerable praise and appreciation for the excellent library system, leadership and staff in our community.
Our worst performance is being #50 for Educational Attainment, which measures: Percentage of the adult population with an educational level of 8th grade or less; Percentage of the adult population with a high school diploma or higher; Percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's degree or higher. We all know we are deficient in this, and now we know how deficient, as we are 50th among large cities in this critical measure, which is a major reason we have not succeeded as a new economy city. That must change.
The greatest disappointment is that we are #47 for Internet Resources, which measures: Number of library Internet connection per 10,000 library service population; Number of commercial and public wireless Internet access points per capita; Number of Internet book orders per capita; Percentage of adult population that has read newspaper on Internet. In looking at the methodology for this metric, it is interesting to observe that "Figures for the Internet accessibility database were obtained from Intel Corporation’s 3rd Annual "Most Unwired Cities" survey, which ranks the top 100 U.S. cities and regions for the greatest wireless Internet accessibility." For this metric, Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria is near the bottom of America, with a ranking of #62 out of 100. This is a very different reality than we tend to read locally, that Cleveland is a "Digital City", and raises understanding that being a digital city has many interpretations.
This literacy analysis has greater social relevance than the "digital city" designation, or feel good about Cleveland campaigns, as being successful in all these measures of social health is undoubtedly the key to developing a successful economy and region. In one area - libraries - we are the world leaders... in three areas, we are quite good... in Educational Attainment and Internet Resources we are poor. This is a roadmap for improvement for our future, and it didn't cost Northeast Ohio a penny to capture and interpret this data. That is open source economic development at its best - now the people who work in each of the spaces of these metrics have anaytic models and metrics to guage their achievements and failures.
See the definition of each category and the top ten cities for each and overall below - visit the website for the analysis for more information on the meathodoligies and all rankins here:
Overall Rankings - Cleveland is #14
This is the overall ranking for each city. A total score was tallied for each city across six different literacy categories: Booksellers; Educational attainment; Internet Resources; Library Resources; Newspaper Circulation; and Periodical publications. All categories were compared against the city's total population. See "Rank by Category" for more detailed results.
Bookstores (per 10,000 population): Cleveland is #15
Education Level: Cleveland is #50
Library Support, Holdings, and Utilization
These numbers were then divided by the city population in order to calculate ratios of
These numbers were then divided by the city population in order to calculate ratios of library services and resources available to the population.
INTRODUCATION: America’s Most Literate Cities, 2006
This study attempts to capture one critical index of our nation’s social health—the literacy of its major cities (population of 250,000 and above). This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources (introduced in the 2005 study).
This set of factors measures the practices of literacy--people's use of their literacy--and thus presents a complex and nuanced portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality. 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.
As I've mentioned before, the ranking is necessarily an interpretation of data. What matters most is not whether the rank ordering changes but what communities do to promote the kinds of literacy practices that the data track.
Dr. John W. Miller,
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