Six key elements are analysed in this study to dechipher which city is the most literate (American cities only) in 2008. These include: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources and are then compared to the population rate (but only in cities greater than 250,000).
Somewhat oddly, the study does NOT include "reading test scores or how often people read, but what kinds of literary resources are available and used."
"Cities that ranked higher for having more bookstores also have a higher proportion of people buying books online, the analysis found, and cities with newspapers that have high per-capita circulation rates also have more people reading newspapers online. Likewise, cities that ranked higher for having well-used libraries also have more booksellers."
"While it is too early in this study to draw conclusions, it is nevertheless striking that newspaper readership rates in the US’s global economic competitors are significantly higher than in the US. Since literacy is generally regarded as a barometer of a nation’s social, cultural, and economic health, perhaps these findings are cause for national concern."
According to the USA Today report, "Preliminary results of a related study examining international literacy paint a less optimistic outlook for the USA. It notes that in per-capita paid newspaper circulation, the USA ranks only 31st in the world, far behind other countries, including Aruba, Liechtenstein and Japan."