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Literacy rates in Texas

Texas cities are behind in literacy rankings

No Texas cities rank in the top 20 of most literate cities.

Washington, Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver, St. Paul, Boston, St. Louis and San Francisco. What do these cities have in common? They are the 10 most literate cities – the ones having the greatest literacy development in the U.S. You have to go down the list to number 21 to find Austin. Then you have to skip down the list to number 37 to find Dallas. If you go to very near the bottom of the list, you will find San Antonio, El Paso and Corpus Christi at numbers 73, 74 and 77, respectively.

Facts about Texas literacy rates and literacy development

  • Texas has 6.5 million residents who speak a language other than English at home, almost double the national percentage, composing 38.6 percent of the Texas population (Texas LEARNS, 2005).
  • A rise of 1 percent in literacy scores leads to a 2.5 percent rise in labor productivity and a 1.5 percent rise in GDP (The Economist, August 28, 2004).
  • There are 3.8 million adults in Texas without a high school diploma (Texas LEARNS, 2005).
  • Literacy programs in Texas are only serving 3.6 percent of the 3.8 million in need of adult basic education services (Texas LEARNS, April 2005).
  • Texas has slipped from 45th to last among states ranked by percent for citizens in 2005 (age 25 and older) who have a high school diploma or GED (Murdock, 2007).
  • Dropouts cost Texas $9.6 billion annually (United Ways of Texas).

Indicators of improvement

Austin jumped from number 23 in the previous survey to number 21. Dallas jumped 10 spots. Plano, Fort Worth and Arlington made comparable gains. Here is some other important information about the annual survey: It is not about whether people can read. It is about whether they do read. The survey measures cities based on data from six key indicators of residents' use of literacy: booksellers, education level, Internet resources, library resources, newspaper circulation and periodical publishing resources.

Why does Texas need literacy development?

Research shows that people in whom literacy development is evident are more likely to have better self-esteem, improved health and higher wages than those with undeveloped literacy skills. In today's job market, literacy development is absolutely essential.

Why pursue a master's degree in literacy studies?

With a master's degree in literacy studies, you can help facilitate Texans' literacy development. A master's degree in literacy studies provides you with a chance to encourage Texans to read, learn and acquire skills for the rest of their lives. Positively reinforcing reading in even one student's life can have a profound impact on society.

The literacy rate for some Texas cities is not where it should be. Texans need encouragement to read more often. While notable gains are occurring, there is still a great deal of work to do.


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