Missouri Ranks Among Most Book-Loving States

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

People in Missouri love to read, and there’s ample evidence to prove it.

With National Read A Book Day arriving Sept. 6, we decided to look at the states who love to read the most.

BetMissouri.com took a break from Missouri sports betting and utilized two combined data points to develop the ranking of the 50 states in terms of loving books. We used WordsRated.com to get the average annual library visits per capita in 2020 and Google Trends to get the searches for “Amazon Kindle” over the past 12 months (August 2022-August 2023). Once we had that information, we averaged out the ranking of the states to get our final list.

States That Love Reading Books Most

Rank, State Library Visits Rank Kindle Search Rank Average Pts.
1. Vermont 1 1 1
T2. Wyoming 5 6 5.5
T2. Massachusetts 4 7 5.5
4. Alaska 9 4 6.5
5. Oregon 12 5 8.5
6. Utah 18 3 10.5
7. Maine 14 8 11
8. Missouri 11 13 12
9. Montana 13 12 12.5
10. Iowa 7 19 13
T11. Idaho 20 10 15
T11. Virginia 17 13 15
T11. Connecticut 2 28 15
14. New Hampshire 21 11 16
15. Michigan 10 24 17

Show-Me State is Very Well-Read

Missouri comes in ranked No. 11 in the library visits per capita and then 13th in the Amazon Kindle search ranking. That balance gives it an overall ranking of 12, so it’s the eighth best state for loving books. Folks in the state have plenty of time to read because there are no legal Missouri betting apps.

For the library data on WordsRated.com, the most recent data was from 2020 so the pandemic played a big part in numbers being down overall that year. While visits were way down that year, they had been down over the previous decade with the rise of book downloads on Amazon and other services. Missouri has 3.23 visits to the library per capita, which ranks eighth among all states. Vermont, No. 1 on the list above, also leads in the nation with 4.02 library visits per capita.

While the pandemic affected the number of in-person visits to libraries, data shows online library visits were also down during that year. U.S. public libraries recorded 1.16 billion visits to their websites in 2020, but that was a 20% drop when compared to the 2019 numbers that reached 1.46 billion visits. The Google Trends data shows five of Missouri’s metro areas lead the way in searches. The area that includes Quincy, Illinois, Hannibal, Missouri and Keokuk, Iowa ranks No. 1, followed by the Joplin, Missouri-Pittsburg, Kansas area and then Columbia-Jefferson City is No. 3. 

So get out there and find a new favorite book for National Read a Book Day. In Missouri, you’ll have plenty of others like you.

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Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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