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.

City

Overall Rank 06

 05 Rank

Seattle, WA

1

1

Minneapolis, MN

2

2

Atlanta, GA

3.5

4

Washington, DC

3.5

3

St. Paul, MN

5

9.5

Pittsburgh, PA

6

8

Cincinnati, OH

7

9.5

Denver, CO

8

6

San Francisco, CA

9

5

Portland, OR

10

11

 

Bookstores (per 10,000 population): Cleveland is #15
These three variables were used to determine a total score and consequent ranking:

  1. Number of retail bookstores per 10,000 population
  2. Number of rare and used bookstores per 10,000 population
  3. Number of members of the American Booksellers Association per 10,000 population

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1

Seattle, WA

1

2

San Francisco, CA

9

3

Cincinnati, OH

7

4

Minneapolis, MN

2

5.5

St. Louis, MO

12

5.5

Portland, OR

10

7

Pittsburgh, PA

6

8

St. Paul, MN

5

9

Washington, DC

3.5

10

Denver, CO

8

 

Education Level: Cleveland is #50
Education Attainment was indexed with three variables:

  1. Percentage of the adult population with an educational level of 8th grade or less
  2. Percentage of the adult population with a high school diploma or higher
  3. Percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's degree or higher

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1

Seattle, WA

1

2

Plano, TX

53

3

Raleigh, NC

13

4

Colorado Springs, CO

33.5

5

Virginia Beach, VA

27

6.5

Anchorage, AK

47

6.5

Portland, OR

10

8

Lexington-Fayette, KY

30

9

Charlotte, NC

19.5

10

Pittsburgh, PA

6

 

Internet resources
      Internet resources were indexed as four variables. These numbers were then divided
      by the city population in order to calculate ratios of internet resources available to the
      population.  

  1. Number of library Internet connection per 10,000 library service population

  2. Number of commercial and public wireless Internet access points per capita

  3. Number of Internet book orders per capita

  4. Percentage of adult population that has read newspaper on Internet

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1

San Jose, CA

50

2

Boston, MA

11

3

Seattle, WA

1

4

Raleigh, NC

13

5

Atlanta, GA

3.5

6

Oakland, CA

35

7

Denver, CO

8

8

Austin, TX

16

9

San Francisco, CA

9

10

Miami, FL

23

 

 Library Support, Holdings, and Utilization
 
These five variables were indexed to determine a total score and consequent ranking:   

  1. Number of school media personnel per 1,000 public school students
  2. Number of branch libraries per 10,000 library service population
  3. Volumes held in the library per capita of library service population
  4. Number of circulations per capita of library service population
  5. Number of library professional staff per 10,000 library service population

These numbers were then divided by the city population in order to calculate ratios of
library services and resources available to the population.

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1

Cleveland, OH

14

2

St. Louis, MO

12

3

Toledo, OH

32

5

Cincinnati, OH

7

5

Kansas City, MO

17

5

Pittsburgh, PA

6

7

Seattle, WA

1

8

Denver, CO

8

9

Minneapolis, MN

2

10

St. Paul, MN

5

 

  Newspaper Circulation
Newspaper circulation was indexed as two variables. All figures divided by total city population

  1. Weekday total circulation
  2. Sunday total circulation

These numbers were then divided by the city population in order to calculate ratios of library services and resources available to the population.

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1.5

Newark, NJ

51

1.5

Washington DC

3.5

3

Boston, MA

11

4

Minneapolis, MN

2

5

Miami, FL

23

6

Denver, CO

8

7

St Louis, MO

12

8.5

Atlanta, GA

3.5

8.5

Santa Ana, CA

61

10

Cleveland, OH

14

 

Periodical Publishers
These two factors were used to derive a total score and consequent ranking:

  1. Number of magazine publishers with circulation over 2,500 per 100,000 population
  2. Number of journals published with circulation over 500 per 100,000 population

Rank

City

Overall Rank

1

Washington, DC

3.5

2

Atlanta, GA

3.5

3

Boston, MA

11

4.5

Cleveland, OH

14

4.5

New York City, NY

42

6

St. Louis, MO

12

7

San Francisco, CA

9

8

Cincinnati, OH

7

9.5

Minneapolis, MN

2

9.5

Pittsburgh, PA

6

 

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,
President,
Central Connecticut State University

 

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Git yer NEWSPAPER

The PD today reprinted yesterday's historic insert 11/5/2008 and included it in today's paper 11/6/2008.

 

The Plain Dealer can't hope to keep sales up by reprinting the insert (maybe they will?), but it was a clever marketing ploy designed to boost information literacy in NEO.

As we listened to WTAM radio this morning (on our break), my coworker remarked that he has found himself more interested in the print news, now that Obama is our president-elect. It was tiring to hear the AM radio broadcaster bemoan the fate of poor "Joe the Plumber." Oh please....