Methodology 2006

Selection of Cities for Inclusion

Cities were selected based on their 2005 U.S. Census population figures. The study was limited to those cities with a population of 250,000 or larger.

Newspaper Data

For the newspaper database, the daily and Sunday circulation figures for the March 2006 reporting period from the Publisher's Statements were obtained from the Audit Bureau of Circulation website ( Those numbers were divided by the 2005 U.S. Census population figures for the cities resulting in a ratio, which was then rank ordered. Four cities (Anaheim, CA, Arlington, TX, Plano, TX, and Aurora, CO) had no newspaper published in their city that participates in the ABC publisher's statements. Additionally, one of the major newspapers in Chicago, IL (The Sun-Times) was being censured by ABC, so the figures from that newspaper are from the 26 weeks ending March 27, 2005. Similarly, the major newspaper in Dallas, TX (The Dallas Morning News) was being censured by ABC, and its figures are from the six months ended March 31, 2006. In the case of New Orleans, LA, the circulation figures used for the Times-Picayune were from the last available report (March 31, 2005). Finally, the circulation figures for Tulsa, OK were those reported for the six-month period ended March 31, 2006 from the newspaper itself, as they are not participants in the ABC publisher's statements.

Internet Data

Figures for the Internet accessibility database were obtained from Intel Corporation's 3rd Annual "Most Unwired Cities" survey, which ranks the top 100 U.S. cities and regions for the greatest wireless Internet accessibility. Figures for the number of internet terminals at public libraries were obtained from the Fiscal Year 2004 Public Libraries Survey from the National Center for Education Statistics website. Figures for read a newspaper online and purchased a book online were obtained from Scarborough Research's August 2004-September 2005 USA+2005 Release. Cities were ranked according to the index figures provided by Scarborough. Please note that Scarborough did not have data for the following cities: Long Beach, CA; Mesa, AZ; Plano, TX; Corpus Christi, TX; Bakersfield, CA; Aurora, CO; Arlington, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; New Britain, CT; Anaheim, CA; New Orleans, LA; Omaha, NE; Riverside, CA; Anchorage, AK; Santa Ana, CA; and Newark, NJ. Hence, all of those cities were ranked last.

Magazines and Journals Data

Figures for this database were gathered from the web edition of the National Directory of Magazines (2004-2005) for magazines and the Standard Periodical Directory (2005) for journals through the website of Oxbridge Communications. Only those journals with a total circulation of 500 or more were included, and only those magazines with a total circulation of 2,500 or more were included.

Booksellers and Stores Data

For this database, information was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau website ( (2005 population)), as well as Yellow Pages, Inc. ( (2006)) for information on retail, rare, and used booksellers. Also, the American Booksellers Association site ( (2006)) was used for independent bookseller information. Please note that for figures reported for retail, these did not include any specialty, adult, or religious bookstores, and the stores were those listed at these database sites on September 10, 2006.

Educational Attainment Data

For this database, information was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Factfinder website (, specifically from the results of the American Community Survey, 2005. The Educational Attainment data were gathered from the geographic subset listed as, Principal City of a Metropolitan Statistical Area. The data were released from the U.S. Census on August 15, 2006.or this database, information was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau website ( [2000 population]), specifically using the Educational Attainments statistics and population.

Library Data

Information regarding library staff per capita, volumes per capita, circulation per capita, and branches per capita were gleaned from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, specifically the “Library Statistics Program” and its Public Libraries Survey FY2004.

Please note that the number of volumes per capita for Tucson, AZ stem from the latest available source (i.e., Public Library Survey, FY2003). Also, please note that the number of media specialists for Buffalo, NY and New York, NY were obtained from the latest available source (NCES CCD 2002-2003 data).

Information on the number of students and media specialists comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, specifically the Public School District data for the 2004-2005 school year. For the Media Specialists total, the number of Librarians/ Media Specialists were combined with the number of Library/Media Support staff.

School districts labeled as Regular School Districts in Large Central Cities or Medium Central Cities in a MSA- Central City metropolitan status were included.

Several cities had multiple school districts that met the criteria. Here is a list of those cities and the school districts included:

Anaheim, CA

  • Anaheim City
  • Anaheim Union
  • Magnolia Elementary
  • Savanna Elementary

Bakersfield, CA

  • Bakersfield City Elementary
  • Fruitvale Elementary
  • Greenfield Union Elementary
  • Kern Union High
  • Panama-Buena Vista Union
  • Rosedale Union Elementary

Colorado Springs, CO

  • Academy 20
  • Cheyenne Mountain 12
  • Colorado Springs 11
  • Harrison 2

Corpus Christi, TX

  • Calallen ISD
  • Corpus Christi ISD
  • Flour Bluff ISD
  • London ISD
  • Tuloso-Midway ISD
  • West Oso ISD

El Paso, TX

  • El Paso ISD
  • Socorro ISD
  • Ysleta ISD

Fresno, CA

  • Central Unified
  • Fresno Unified
  • West Fresno Elementary

Houston, TX

  • Houston ISD
  • North Forest ISD
  • Spring Branch ISD

Indianapolis, IN

  • Indianapolis Public
  • MSD Decatur Township
  • MSD Perry Township
  • MSD Pike Township
  • MSD Warren Township
  • MSD Washington Township
  • MSD Wayne Township

Kansas City, MO

  • Center 58
  • Hickman Mills C-1
  • Kansas City 33
  • North Kansas City 74
  • Park Hill

Oklahoma City, OK

  • Crooked Oak
  • Oklahoma City
  • Western Heights

Omaha, NE

  • Omaha Public
  • Millard Public
  • Westside Community

Phoenix, AZ

  • Alhambra Elementary
  • Balsz Elementary
  • Cartwright Elementary
  • Creighton Elementary
  • Fowler Elementary
  • Isaac Elementary
  • Madison Elementary
  • Murphy Elementary
  • Osborn Elementary
  • Paradise Valley Unified
  • Pendergast Elementary
  • Phoenix Elementary
  • Phoenix Union
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • Washington Elementary
  • Wilson Elementary

Portland, OR

  • David Douglas SD40
  • Parkrose SD3
  • Portland SD

Riverside, CA

  • Alvord Unified
  • Riverside Unified

Sacramento, CA

  • Del Paso Heights Elementary
  • Natomas Unified
  • North Sacramento Elementary
  • Robla Elementary
  • Sacramento City Unified

San Antonio, TX

  • Alamo Heights ISD
  • Edgewood ISD
  • Fort Sam Houston ISD
  • Harlandale ISD
  • North East ISD
  • Northside ISD
  • San Antonio ISD
  • South San Antonio ISD

San Jose, CA

  • Alum Rock Union Elementary
  • Berryessa Union Elementary
  • Cambrian Elementary
  • Campbell Union High
  • East Side Union High
  • Evergreen Elementary
  • Franklin-McKinley Elementary
  • Luther Burbank
  • Moreland Elementary
  • Mt. Pleasant Elementary
  • Oak Grove Elementary
  • Orchard Elementary
  • San Jose Unified
  • Union Elementary

Stockton, CA

  • Lincoln Unified
  • Stockton City Unified

Tucson, AZ

  • Sunnyside Unified
  • Tucson Unified

Tulsa, OK

  • Tulsa
  • Union

Additionally, several cities' information was based on county school district information reported. They included:

Charlotte, NC

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District

Honolulu, HI

  • Hawaii Department of Education

Jacksonville, FL

  • Duval County School District

Las Vegas, NV

  • Clark County School District

Lexington, KY

  • Fayette County School District

Louisville, KY

  • Jefferson County School District

Miami, FL

  • Dade County School District

Raleigh, NC

  • Wake County School District

Tampa, FL

  • Hillsborough County School District

Political Affiliation and Literacy

The data on 2004 presidential voter preferences was provided by Jason Alderman of The Bay Area Center for Voting Research in conjunction with the BACVR's The Most Conservative and Liberal Cities in the United States study. According to Alderman,

The goal of this research was to rank America's most liberal and conservative cities based on the voting returns of the 2004 United States presidential election. The Bay Area Center for Voting Research identified every American city with a population greater than 100,000 according to the 2000 Census, and obtained the election returns in each of these cities. The researchers obtained information for the applicable cities located within each state by contacting the city recorder, city clerk, or other designated city official. In many instances, it was the recorder of the county in which that city was located that held the information by precinct, or election district of a city. The votes were tabulated by combining the voting returns from all of the precincts located in a particular city.