Minneapolis is the third most literate city, fourth for garden gnome appreciation

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garden gnome with rake and orange pointed cap Getty Images/iStockphoto

No, these rankings aren't from the same study. But apparently Minneapolis likes cracking open a book after searching the internet for garden gnomes.

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul tend to make the top 10 every year for literate cities in the U.S.; it's mostly just a matter of where on the list we'll fall. This year, Central Connecticut State University found that Minneapolis is the third most reading friendly city, with Seattle and Washington D.C. taking second and first respectively. St. Paul ranks ninth on the list, just above Boston.

In order to make the list, cities need to have a population of 250,000 or higher. Other factors tallied include the number of bookstores a city has, educational attainment, internet and library resources, periodical publishing resources, and newspaper circulation.

“This set of factors measures people’s use of their literacy and thus presents a large-scale portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality,” states Jack Miller, who has conducted the study each year since 2003. “From this data we can better perceive the extent and quality of the long-term literacy essential to individual economic success, civic participation, and the quality of life in a community and a nation.”

Meanwhile, when we're not reading or visiting a local bookstore, apparently we are searching Google for garden gnomes. According to a recent study using Google Trends, Minneapolis and St. Paul are really into them. Putting together this ranking involved tallying Google searches for "garden gnomes" from January 2004 to March 2017.

So, we might not be decorating our yards with gnomes, but at the very least we're probably contemplating it.

The list was compiled by LawnStarter.com, a site that offers lawn-care resources, tips, and communty. The Twin Cities is ranked fourth with a score of 81, topped by St. Louis (88), Salt Lake City (94), and Baltimore (100). Our psychological nemesis Seattle is ranked sixth at 73.

After coming up with the ranking, Lawnstarter came to an interesting conclusion: Most of the cities in the top 10 of the list have a Major League Baseball team. Most likely, collectors searching for Twins garden gnomes, which are sometimes given away in great quantity at games to fans, are driving our traffic.

Taking a closer look at the data suggests that our hunger for garden gnomes is increasing. Over the past year Minnesota ranked third for searches in the nation and second for metro populations.

So, there you go. Garden gnomes are the bobble heads of this decade.


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