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Not Gooder: Study Says Dallas Is Less Literate This Year Than We Were Last Year

Not Gooder: Study Says Dallas Is Less Literate This Year Than We Were Last Year

A Friend of Unfair Park reminds me: It's that time of the year again -- time for Dr. John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, to rank 75 major metros' literacy levels using a handful of criteria ("newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources") to make sweeping generalizations about the state of big cities' "social health." And after seeing an uptick in our ranking last year -- all the way up to 44, nothing to brag about -- Dallas now sits at No. 51. That's the lowest Dallas has ever scored since Miller began keeping score. Back in '08, matter of fact, we were all the way up to 38.5. But now? Austin and Plano rank ahead of us. But look out below, Fort Worth (No. 54) and Houston (No. 60!).

Below, where Dallas ranks in those individual categories mentioned above. Spoiler alert: It's the "Educational Attainment" score that really dragged us down.

Booksellers
Bookstores (per 10,000 population)

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
Dallas ranking: 53.5

Education
Education Level

Education Attainment was indexed with two variables:
1. Percentage of the adult population with a high school diploma or higher
2. Percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's degree or higher
Dallas ranking: 60

Internet
Internet Resources

Internet resources were indexed as three 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 Internet book orders per capita
2. Number of unique visitors per capita to a city's internet version newspaper
3. Number of webpage views per capita to a city's internet version newspaper
Dallas ranking: 27.5

Libraries
Library Support, Holdings, and Utilization

These four variables were indexed to determine a total score and consequent ranking:
1. Number of branch libraries per 10,000 library service population
2. Volumes held in the library per capita of library service population
3. Number of circulations per capita of library service population
4. 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.
Dallas ranking: 32.5

Newspaper
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.
Dallas ranking: 47

Publications
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.
Dallas ranking: 38.5


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