The 10 Most Well-Read Cities In The United States Aren't What You Would Expect
Heads up, book-lovers! If you're looking for a bookish town to move to, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 50 most well-read cities in the U.S., and one of them might be the site of your next job search. I've got the Top 10 for you to look at below, so be sure to send me a postcard when you arrive at your new, book-nerdy home.
Published on MSN, the 24/7 Wall St. article says that, in order to determine which U.S. cities were the most well read, the site took into account the number of public libraries per capita and the number of colleges and universities in the surrounding area. Because research shows that income and education levels can affect library usage and reading habits, 24/7 Wall St. also factored into their analysis the cities' average incomes and the number of adult residents with high school diplomas. This should not be taken to mean that adults without high school diplomas or high-paying jobs do not read, or that anyone who attended college or has a cushy job reads all the time, merely that those with higher levels of education and income tend to read more.
24/7 Wall St.'s financial analysis doesn't mean you'll be priced out of living in these cities, however, nor does it mean that the most populated areas in the U.S. are necessarily the most well-read. You won't find New York City, Chicago, or even Portland, Ore. in the Top 10, which may seem strange when you think about all that those cities have to offer. But, if you're like me, you'd rather live someplace where you can read in peace instead.
Check out the Top 10 most well-read cities in the U.S. below, and share your favorite bookish destinations with me on Twitter!
10. Walla Walla, Washington
Situated four hours away from both Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Walla Walla has 16 public libraries to serve a community of less than 100,000 people. The city is also home to three colleges — Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, and Whitman Colleges — that offer accredited programs in a variety of disciplines.
9. Sante Fe, New Mexico
If the sunny southwest is more your style, consider Santa Fe, N.M. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe has 30 public libraries, seven colleges and universities, and a cost of living that's 14 percent below the national average.
8. Portland-South Portland, Maine
Frequently ranked among the best small cities in the U.S., Portland, ME has a mind-boggling number of public libraries: 99! The city also features 17 colleges and universities, and more than 94 percent of its adult residents have high school diplomas.
7. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
This little Cape Cod town won the National Civic League's All-America City Award in 2007, so if you've ever wanted to move to someplace near Martha's Vineyard, you can't go wrong with Barnstable Town, Mass.
6. Manhattan, Kansas
Manhattan, Kan. sports 18 public libraries its residents can use to read to their hearts' content. As a college town built around Kansas State University, Manhattan Christian College, and Manhattan Area Technical College, this "Little Apple" always has something going on.
5. Watertown-Fort Drum, New York
Located near the Thousand Islands, Watertown, N.Y. might be best known as the home of the Little Trees air freshener. But this city also has 34 libraries, two colleges, and plenty of gorgeous park-spaces to make use of when you need a break from your reading list.
4. Ames, Iowa
Fittingly located in Story County, Iowa, Ames is home to Iowa State University and 18 public libraries, and has fostered the writing of a number of great authors, including Jane Smiley and Neal Stephenson.
3. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
With 58 public libraries, five colleges and universities, and nearly 95 percent of its adults holding high school diplomas, Champaign-Urbana, Ill. is a book-lover's paradise. The metro area also sports several museums and a number of large corporate offices.
2. Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Situated in a Berkshires near the Appalachian Trail, Pittsfield, Mass. has 38 public libraries and six colleges and universities for students and residents to choose from. The city is also home to the Berkshire Museum, where visitors can find exhibitions on art, history, and natural science.
1. Ithaca, New York
The home of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. is the most well-read city in the U.S. according to 24/7 Wall St. The city has 28 public libraries and three non-Ivy League colleges, and has been the home of writers Carl Sagan, Alex Haley, and E.B. White.