by Callie Enlow
Sheila Maldonado at a Twig Book Shop reading last December. Credit: Nelly Rosario
According to an annual study, San Antonio ranked among the five least literate cities in the country. The silver lining? We're only the third least literate city in Texas—El Paso and Corpus Christi both scored lower than us.
Central Connecticut State University ranks cities based on six criteria: bookstores, residents’ education level, newspaper circulation, use of online resources, the library system and periodical publishing resources. Worth noting is that, according to the study's head Dr. John Miller, “This isn’t about whether or not people can read, it’s about whether they do read.”
However, education and reading often go hand in hand, and San Antonio is below both state and national averages in terms of the percentage of residents who have a high school degree and those who hold a bachelor's degree. Nationally, 85.7 percent of U.S. residents attained a high school degree between 2008-2012 according to Census data, while about 80 percent of San Antonians did. For college degrees, nearly a third of U.S. residents have them, while less than a quarter of San Antonians do.
Other metrics which hit SA hardest was our very low amount of book stores per 10,000 residents, which is the second lowest in the nation. Also, our weekday newspaper circulation is 11th lowest in the nation, with only 9.4 of every 100 residents picking up a daily paper.
While the report noted San Antonio has a larger population of library users than many cities in the nation, it also speculated that the libraries are understaffed.
CORRECTION 2:45 p.m. Sun, Feb 23: We previously misidentified the woman reading in the photo. We regret the error.