February 18, 2013

America's least literate cities: What could be the common denominator?

The annual list of America's cities where reading is most and least popular has come out again, and once more America's most literate pundits remain baffled by why reading is popular in some metropolitan areas but not in others:

America's 5 most literate cities:
5. Denver, Colo.
4. Pittsburgh, Pa.
3. Minneapolis, Minn.
2. Seattle, Wash.
1. Washington, D.C.

America's five least literate cities:
5. Anaheim, Calif.
4. El Paso, Texas
3. Stockton, Calif.
2. Corpus Christi, Texas
1. Bakersfield, Calif.

You know what we need to fix the problems of Anaheim, El Paso, Stockton, Corpus Christi, and Bakersfield?

More immigration. 

Granted, I'm not sure exactly why, but I've been reading a lot of punditry lately, and that seems to be solution for just about everything, so why not literacy?

49 comments:

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT, Steve, your VDARE column on the Presidential election is brilliant. As usual.

However, the big problem with the White vote is the deep division among Whites. Wyoming and Oregon are both in the West, but act differently among White voting patterns because the type of White people differ radically. I'd argue that the Romney White voters are the fringe, Obama voters the core, the new core, of the nation.

That's the reason for the worship of diversity, even if literacy declines and provides a fairly catastrophic future for say, writers and journalists and film-makers. Not much appetite for the kind of movies that Hollywood loves among the people of Stockton and Anaheim. Or desire for arty literature in Anaheim and Stockton. No matter, it is "deep culture" and the hatred (or HATE HATE HATE) White cultures have for each other. The Puritans and their descendants, Viking to the core, HATE HATE HATE the Celtic culture people of say, Wyoming and Utah.

A Mexifornia means well, every TV show looking like Sabado Gigante and really, no books at all read with all that implies. But if it screws over the White folks that the elites (Vikings to the core) HATE HATE HATE and have always hated for 1400 years, well so much the better.

Anonymous said...

Why the Mexican antipathy toward reading and books?
- Is it just a lack of curiosity and the inability to sit still and concentrate (incidentally a condition common to most infant boys, but not girls, but which soon disappears once they find subject matter that actually grabs their imagination. Basically, boys are more interested in books describing the attributes of trucks, rather than anyting to do with fictious people).
Strangely, enough Mexiacns' brother Lationos, the Argentinians have taken 'book worship' almost to the form of a cult.

Matthew said...

You assume the elites want us to read...

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh has more independent bookstores, relative to population, than any city in the country. Having lived here for 13 years now, its the best damned thing about the city, hands down.

Peter the Shark said...

Strangely, enough Mexiacns' brother Lationos, the Argentinians have taken 'book worship' almost to the form of a cult.

The Argentines are not "brother Latinos" with Mexicans. Mexicans are mostly descended from indigenous people who pre-date the Spanish conquest. Argentines are mostly descended from white Europeans. So the literacy pattern you've describe matches on a macro scale pretty much what Steve is presenting. The greatest writer in Spanish about life in Mexico is Roberto Bolano - who is really from Chile and spent much of his life in Barcelona.

Anonymous said...

An unexpected amount of reading is apparently going on in Detroit.

Couchin said...

"You know what we need to fix the problems of Anaheim, El Paso, Stockton, Corpus Christi, and Bakersfield?

More immigration. "


Of course we do, Steve. If Hispanics are not reading at the same rate we must import many more Hispanics to have the desired number of readers. Duh!!!

Hunsdon said...

Vikings to the core, Whiskey, Vikings to the core.

Mallarde said...

Maybe immigration. More importantly, we more more funding for our educational system.

Anonymous said...

Anaheim only has one public library because of prop 13 and hours are only Monday thru Fridayy and open on Saturday and closed on Sunday.. The Hills area of Anaheim is still white and they still might have had a low score since Public Librararies are considered not just because they had a lot of illegal immirgants on the west side near Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

That's right bookstores more also be considered but most folks now order from Amazon, who maybe Pittsbugh isn't that literate. El Paso not certain why they don't have much public libraries even if they are Mexican. So, the literally in El PAso and Anaheim doesn't consider the difference from the barro, El Paso is more Mexican its 80 percent. Actually Santa Ana is more illiterate than Anaheim because its 80 percent Mexican but the white business area might have a bookstore. Anahem has Anaheim HIlls which might not have a library or public library but is at least average in literally. The study is dated since Amazon is causing bookstores to go out of business and just because you don't have a lot of public libraries doesn't mean you are illiterate.

Anonymous said...

Well, prop 13 that limited the property taxes for public libraries in California is also a factor unlike Seattle which has a high property tax, or Pittsburgh and so forth, libraries are funded by property taxes, so even Mission Viejo mainly white would do poorly on the study if you use libraries or bookstores. Now its probably ture that Mexican cities have less people interested in books but in the case of Anaheim and Stocton it also is prop 13 and lots of bookstores have went out of because everywhere because of Amazon unless you can specialized books.

Anonymous said...

The Minneapolis paper had an editorial yesterday about why we needed legal gay marriage in order to sttract more immigrants. Because more immigration is vital to the economy...

Anonymous said...

I think Anaheim even when it was still white majority in 1990, whites 53 percent it didn't have more than one library or too many bookstores. People back east even think whites in California are too much interested in shopping than in books, so its not all the Mexican factor, different culture between the east coast and northwest cities like Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Anosther thing not this study, but Anaheim probably can't get more than 60 percent because of the expensive Hills region even Santa Ana has an expensive area near Tustin which is where most of the 9 percent white in the town lives. Mexicans are box in the major cities in Ca like La or Anaheim or Santa Ana or Long Beah because there is a expensive area that slows down there growth,interesting not certain about the Texas towns have this too.

Truth said...

"Mexicans are mostly descended from indigenous people who pre-date the Spanish conquest."

No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Hollywood has not been interested much about doing the Hispanic towns, Orange County is always shown as 90 percent white like it was in 1970. There was a movie called Orange County which dealt with a suburban white boy going to college in 2001 and the only Mexicans were maids. The OC, about Newport Beach talks about one of the characters going to a concert in Anaheim but nothing about the city being over 50 percent Mexican. As mention Anaheim Hills is still a nice place its the housing around Disneyland that has the illegal immirgants.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Regarding state and city differentials... there have been a number of articles on the internent regarding the now very public fact that Florida now leads the country by a large margin in IRS tax fraud.

According to one government study Florida has 41 times the number of false filings than the average of other states. Wow!! (and 70 times the dollar amount).

I wonder how much of this is due to vibrancy ... probably a lot IMHO.

Dan Kurt said...

re: "Basically, boys are more interested in books describing the attributes of trucks" ANON 2/18/13, 12:30 AM

Wow, you don't know how correct you are.

My son, 34, a rocket scientist Ph.D. reads little except for his field and never has except for an occasional book, really occasional. He has a gift for math that shepherded him to his current position. I say gift because he NEVER had to work for his success in STEM subjects.

But there was one book that he devoured over the course of his early years: three to five. He received it as a present age three and he wore the book out. It was titled simply TRUCKS and mainly was illustrations of trucks of all kinds and sizes.

Dan Kurt

Wegie said...

The question is. What are they reading?

Auntie Analogue said...


Don't worry, Mr. Sailer, because those least literate cities' public libraries will now shift their holdings to consist chielfly of Spanish language materials. How else should those cities continue to attract all those immigrant STEM geniuses whom, our Dear Leader insists and assures us, we so desperately need to import?

Matthew said...

"No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec."

But the average Mexican coming here?

Also: while I've done so drunken, late-night/early morning iSteve commenting in my time, the Anonymous who posted at 6:08, 6:14, 6:30 and 6:46 should probably be dropped from the conversation. All his comments read like that and they are sriously distracting.

Pardon me of people find my comments scarcely more literate.

Anonymous said...

Another thing is in Anaheim and Bakersfield there is actually less work for Hispanic illegals than 19- or 20 years ago. Bakerfield might be over 12 percent unemployment and Anaheim is 9 percent. The politicans want to keep the illegal immirgants who now because of the construcation downturn and even some service jobs downturn have high unemployment rates in California over the 10 percent mark. They are living off of relatives and they complain about having to live off the floor in Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

How else should those cities continue to attract all those immigrant STEM geniuses whom, our Dear Leader insists and assures us, we so desperately need to import?

More science fiction books translated into Spanish would help. And of course, a search for native Hispanic SF writers ... starting with "magical realism" of course.

Anonymous said...

"Mexicans are mostly descended from indigenous people who pre-date the Spanish conquest."

"No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec."

I think it is about 55/45 European/Indian depending on the region.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh, a great city of Appalachia, good for you!

What you were saying about those Appalachians, Nick Diaz? I think if you live in a glass house, e.g. El Paso, you should not throw stones.

Hunsdon said...

Truth said: No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec.

Hunsdon said: You have your experience, I have mine. Without doubting yours, if you snooped around my old stomping grounds (Houston), there are many, many more indigenos than conquistadores.

Contra Nick Diaz, if they were more Spaniard than Aztec (or Mixtec, or whatever), many of my objections (but not all) would drop off the vine.

Word verification? Xtexan. That's got me laughing right there.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anaheim only has one public library because of prop 13..."

Ah yes, "Prop 13" - the most consequential law since Leviticus. It's effects still echo down through history, even unto the seventh generation.

Will California liberals ever stop blaming an alteration in property tax rates back in 1978 for all the evils that befall that state?

Mr. Anon said...

"Well, prop 13 that limited the property taxes for public libraries in California is also a factor unlike Seattle which has a high property tax, or Pittsburgh and so forth, libraries are funded by property taxes,..."

Bullshit. Libraries are funded by the desire of the people of that city to have a library. If the money is not available from property taxes than the people will get it elsewhere. There are cities in California where libraries did not close down, and where even brand new libraries were built, all after the enactment of Prop 13.

People are still trying to blame Prop 13 - a quite reasonable measure to reign in government spending (and surely, that has been a problem in California, has it not?) that was passed 35 years ago - for every single problem in California. It is ridiculous.

Davis said...

"More importantly, we more more funding for our educational system!"

If I run for Congress this will be my campaign slogan.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey,

I think your comment would make more sense in reference to Britain than the US. The States being more Semitic in its ruling class and Britain more Norman(Scandies who used to live on the coast of France).

Anonymous said...

But if it screws over the White folks that the elites (Vikings to the core) HATE HATE HATE and have always hated for 1400 years, well so much the better.

Come on Whiskey, they've hated, hated, hated white folks far longer than that.

Anonymous said...

The simple truth is not all cultures particularly value literacy.

Jefferson said...

[QUOTE]"Mexicans are mostly descended from indigenous people who pre-date the Spanish conquest."

No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec.[/QUOTE]

If the average Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec, than why doesn't the average Mexican look like a Conquistador Caucasian ?

If the average Mexican is overwhelmingly European with only a tiny miniscule drop of Amerindian ancestry, why does the average Mexican still look Brown ?

Is Amerindian ancestry so strong that it only takes one tiny little drop of it to completely change a person's phenotype from White to Brown ?



Reg Cæsar said...

The Minneapolis paper had an editorial yesterday about why we needed legal gay marriage in order to sttract more immigrants. Because more immigration is vital to the economy...

If you mean Lori Sturdivant's piece, I'm pretty sure she was talking about internal migration between states. If she was thinking of international traffic at all, it was North Sea cyberpreneurs, not Oaxacan hod carriers. (¡Unless they're also Oaxacan maricones!)

Even so, Steve has covered this before: pink follows green, not vice versa.

Reg Cæsar said...

Anonymous said...
Anaheim only has one public library because of prop 13 and hours are only Monday thru Fridayy and open on Saturday and closed on Sunday.


If Prop. 13 were the culprit then the problem would exist throughout California, and for three decades. Is that the case?

Budget crises force one to pick and choose what's important to one's city. Modern Anaheim chose to skimp on books. St. Paul (smaller than Anaheim, but with many more libraries) had a budget crunch recently, but spared the libraries, cutting an hour here and a late night there. "There" was never even built in Anaheim!

Speaking of St Paul, Garrison Keillor put his money where his mouth is and opened his own little neighborhood book store. He was forced to move-- to a bigger place. Business was too brisk.

As for Pittsburgh, a boss of mine about 20 years ago had moved from there a few years earlier. She worried that the huge stack of books her daughter brought to the Pittsburgh library checkout would exceed the limit. The clerk told her there was no limit. Take as many as you like, we need to keep the numbers up. My boss said a city must be pretty illiterate if one little girl could move the needle like that!

On the other hand, she said the small Pittsburgh Mensa group was quite friendly, but the Twin Cities chapter was unbearable. Beyond a certain point, intelligence is overrated.

Truth said...

"
On the other hand, she said the small Pittsburgh Mensa group was quite friendly, but the Twin Cities chapter was unbearable. Beyond a certain point, intelligence is overrated."

Oh, were you working in the building?

Anonymous said...

"No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec."

But most Mexican immigrants - because immigration is mainly about the ruling class waging economic warfare on their nominal fellow citizens - are from the unskilled end of the spectrum and not the average.

Anonymous said...

The French love to read. The Russians love to read. The Czechs love to read. The Hungarians like to read. The Germans like to read. Try importing more people from those countries.

Anonymous said...

The majority of Mexican immigration in the last decade come from just three states: Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. These states have mestizo populations that show some of the highest Amerindian admixture in the country, in addition to sizable indigenous populations. Their genetic make up and GDP can be compared the neighboring poorer Central American states like Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Guerrero is also home to the Costa Chica, and shows large African admixture at upwards of 20%.

That last part is interesting. Henry Louis Gates did claim Mexico imported more slaves than the U.S., but they all suddenly disappeared into the population except for small clusters here and there mostly in the Costa Chica and the state of Veracruz. Nationally, African admixture in Mexico is estimated at around 4%.

Drunk Idiot said...

"The Minneapolis paper had an editorial yesterday about why we needed legal gay marriage in order to sttract more immigrants. Because more immigration is vital to the economy..."

"If you mean Lori Sturdivant's piece, I'm pretty sure she was talking about internal migration between states. If she was thinking of international traffic at all, it was North Sea cyberpreneurs, not Oaxacan hod carriers. (¡Unless they're also Oaxacan maricones!)

Even so, Steve has covered this before: pink follows green, not vice versa.
"

Chicago business leaders and politicians (largely led by Groupon) have been pushing the narrative that Illinois needs to legalize gay marriage in order to turn the state's moribund economy around.

Well, that and legalize marijuana and enact tougher gun control or something.

It's pretty interesting to watch the narrative develop over time. Back in 2011, when the state legislature decided that they'd have to jack taxes up 67% to turn the state's economy around, the Governor said that the tax hikes wouldn't chase business away because, well, "where else are they gonna go!?!"

When businesses -- primarily small businesses that didn't have the political clout to cut a deal on taxes -- indeed began to flee the state in the immediate aftermath of the tax hikes, the Governor blamed the sudden out-migration on Illinois' notoriously cold weather . . . never mind the inconvenient fact that the two biggest destinations for out-migrating Illinois businesses were neighboring Wisconsin and Indiana (the tropics!).

Then the narrative switched to the need for a casino in downtown Chicago that would lure new business to town and keep the existing ones from fleeing to Wisconsin and Indiana. And what was the politicians' explanation for why so many Illinois businesses were fleeing to Wisconsin and Indiana?

Because Indiana and Wisconsin have casinos, of course!

By the way, the politicians were going to go out of their way to make sure that the downtown Chicago casino was corruption and organized crime-free!

Now the narrative has switched to gay marriage.

Everybody knows that the reason businesses are fleeing to Indiana is because Indiana is a gay mecca, or something!

Anonymous said...

Hmm...those harping on Pittsburgh's reputation for illiteracy probably haven't visited recently. To me its indistinguishable from Portland, OR in many ways.

Jefferson said...

[QUOTE]"No they are not. The "average" Mexican is much more Spaniard than Aztec."

But most Mexican immigrants - because immigration is mainly about the ruling class waging economic warfare on their nominal fellow citizens - are from the unskilled end of the spectrum and not the average.[/quote]

What's not average about a poor Brown Mexican ?

If the average Mexican was a middle class Caucasian, Mexico would be a first world country with a Human Development Index similar to Germany and Switzerland for example. But it's not



ERM said...

Appalachia is primarily Celtic in population, in PA with a heavy admixture of German. Celts are big readers, especially the Irish. Germans are known to be pretty literate. Pittsburgh also has a huge number of Slav, some of whom, like the Czechs and Russians mentioned above, are often quite bookish. (The Czechs, like all Central Europeans, extremely so.) So no surprises there, especially as the city has become quite SWPL recently, but the founding stock were relatively avid readers, too, by American working class standards.

My general impression is that it is generally the Latin nations that lag in book-reading. Outside of Catalonia (Barcelona is packed with gorgeous bookshops), the Spanish are said to be not much for reading, and I know Italians barely do it either. So I don't think the Euro vs. Indio quotient of Mexicans is likely to be a very useful metric.

Cocktail Party GOP Hack said...

"Hmm...those harping on Pittsburgh's reputation for illiteracy probably haven't visited recently. To me its indistinguishable from Portland, OR in many ways."

Aww crap! That could explain why the last-minute-pander-to-blue-collar-Catholic-steelworkers-in-a-desparate-attempt-to-pick-up-votes-in-Western-Pennsylvania-once-it-becomes-clear-that-Ohio-and-Michigan-are-lost-causes strategy that the McCain and Romney campaigns employed in 2008 and 2012 didn't work.

Not to worry though, because if we're able to pass amnesty and import 5 million or more Latinos into each one of those old Rust Belt states, the new Latino voters will come out in droves to vote for a Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio in 2016, and those grubby old states will flip solidly back into the GOP fold!








Truth said...

"But most Mexican immigrants - because immigration is mainly about the ruling class waging economic warfare on their nominal fellow citizens - are from the unskilled end of the spectrum and not the average."

That's also a myth. Mexico is, by world standards, a middle class country, and most Mexicans who immigrate to the US are middle class by Mexican standards. Avoiding border patrol takes help, and they (generally speaking) have to pay coyotes ("agents") to help them get 100 miles across the dessert and across the border.These fees are usually a few thousand dollars, and the Pepe with no shoes and a big sombrero over his head, that you guys are fantasizing about, does not have access to these resources.

Anonymous said...

"That's also a myth."

Bull.

It's moments like this when even the best fakers get caught out.

.
"What's not average about a poor Brown Mexican ?"

My point was simply that - even if it was true that all else was equal - importing mainly from the unskilled segment of a country can only have a negative impact.

Anonymous said...

Truth: "help them get 100 miles across the dessert"

Given how frequently Truth, former professional journalist and undisputed master of the English language that he is, goes out of his way to help others by freely dispensing advice on spelling and grammar (even going so far as to correct mistakes where there are none), the least we can do is return the favor.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 5:05 PM;

Good for you.

If anybody who posts on this blog deserves a kick in the pants, it's certainly him.