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Making Dallas Even Better

Dallas Barely Cracks Top 50 U.S. Cities For Literacy, Still Beats Fort Worth

Dallas is the 47th most literate city in America, coming in behind such bastions of literary might as Toledo, Ohio and Virginia Beach, Virginia in Central Connecticut State’s annual literacy rankings. Dallas was the third-highest ranked Texas city behind Austin (23) and Plano (45). Fort Worth came in at 52, followed by Houston (60.5), Arlington (64), San Antonio (71), El Paso (75), and Corpus Christi (75). The rankings were based on six categories: bookstores by 10,000 residents, education level, internet resources, library data (number of branches, circulation numbers, etc.), newspaper circulation, and the number of periodical publishers.

Only cities with more than 250,000 residents were ranked. Dallas’ highest ranking was in the internet resources category, where it was tied for 16th, with Fort Worth. Its worst? Bookstores, where we come in at 69th. There is hope, though. Last year Dallas was ranked 51st.

Plano was first overall in educational attainment, determined by the percentage of the population with high school and college degrees.

  • Uppercase Matt

    “bookstores by 10,000 residents, … library data (number of branches, circulation numbers, etc.), newspaper circulation, and the number of periodical publishers.”

    What a quaint standard of measurement.

  • mynameisbill

    So, I suppose my illiteracy could be construed as being average among the populace of Dallas, at least according to this highly questionable highly more questionable scientific(?) study? If that is so, all I have to say is, “You’re right mom! Being average isn’t so bad after all” :)

  • RatBike

    Matt – either you, too, are illiterate or you did not full ready the criteria.

    “This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources, and newspaper circulation.”

  • RatBike

    Did you get a chance to review the tops cities? All have a large professional class and higher than average number of universities per capita. Putting aside the study’s data, the results should surprise no one.

  • mcd

    Internet resources is judged by page views of the cities newspaper and unique visitors to the cities newspaper, as well as internet book orders and ownership of an e-reader device. CCSU puts a lot of stock in newspapers as an indicator of literacy. CCSU Blue Devils went 2-8 and didn’t get a bowl game.

  • Mark



    No, I won’t, but I will try to explain it to you.

    Matt clearly read the criteria. He then copied the list and edited it to contain only the items he felt were “quaint”.

    And if you don’t consider a bookstore count and paid circulation numbers pretty silly metrics for a literacy study in 2013, we will have to just agree to disagree.

  • mynameisbill

    We have universities around these here parts, too. They’re a bit more spread out, but so is this area. A lot of the professional class decides to live in the ‘burbs, but this is changing a bit, as more professionals begin to lay their heads down in the city proper. There is generational poverty/crime/and the cycling of schools to prison that has been plaguing this area for some time, also. There are many variables to this equation, and a lack of bookstores is how do I say “not anywhere close to being a deciding factor in this area gaining a higher standing in this poll”.

  • Mark

    More brilliance buried in this “study”:

    Santa Ana is ranked third in newspapers because the OC Register is published there.

    Anaheim ranks tied for last in newspapers (as are Plano and Arlington) because the OC Register is published a few miles away in Santa Ana.

    Dallas and Fort Worth are tied for 16th in the internet ranking. Plano is tied for last. You’d think one could attribute this to the lack of a newspaper with a paid subscription base, but if that’s true in the internet category apparently neither Santa Ana nor Anaheim gets credit for the web hits to ocregister.com. They’re both tied for last along with Plano.

    Seriously, any “study” that ranks Tampa as more literate than Austin is a joke. I’ve lived in both places in the last decade so I have some basis for comparison.

  • RatBike

    Paid circulation always includes online subscribers. And the books stores? They are dieing, but they ain’t dead. Not every city, particularly those in the top 10, are dominated by chains like Dallas was. What a ma-roon.

  • Uppercase Matt

    Thanks, Mark. Someone will have to explain ellipses to Ratty sometime. (Why so defensive, RatBike?)

    Besides, neither New Britain, CT (home of CCSU) nor any other city in CT makes the list at all, so I guess I won’t feel bad about the judgment of some illiterate northeastern mouth-breathers.

  • Avid Reader

    If only Bookstop had survived we could have been great.

  • Dirk Dazzler

    This is not surprising. The citizens of Dallas shld read more. And think more.

  • Bill Marvel

    Literacy is more than the bare ability to read and write. It implies a breadth of knowledge, more than a nodding acquaintance with one’s own and other cultures, the capacity to think critically. The listed criteria are a start but by no means exhaust the evidence for literacy.