Milwaukee Ranks 16th Best Book City in America (2022)

The Betty Brinn Children's Room | Central Library in Milwaukee, WI
The Betty Brinn Children’s Room | Central Library in Milwaukee, WI

Every metro area has its highlights, but recently a research agency dove into a new question. The real estate agency Clever explored where avid readers and book lovers could find a solid literary landscape, and Milwaukee held its own.

They analyzed publicly available data from, IndieBound, the National Center for Education Statistics, Publishers Weekly, and Google Trends to rank the 50 most populous metro areas in the U.S. from the best to the worst cities for book-lovers.

Altogether, Milwaukee ranks as the 16th-best book city in America. 

Milwaukee is home to 84 libraries. (Check out 6 must-visit libraries for kids.) That’s 5.3 libraries per 100,000 residents—13% more than the average metro.

Milwaukee is also home to 13 independent bookstores, or 0.8 independent bookstores per 100,000 people, just below the national average of 1.0, making it a close competition between Milwaukee and other metros for the top 15 spots. 

Their weighted rankings evaluated various criteria including:

  • 4x: The number of libraries per 100,000 residents in each metro
  • 4x: The number of independent bookstores per 100,000 residents in each metro
  • 3x: Google search trends in each metro for 10 selected books from Publishers Weekly’s top 25 bestselling books for 2021
  • 2x: Average literacy rate scores for each metro out of 500
  • 1x: Google search trends in each metro for 5 common book-related terms
  • 1x: The number of coffee shops per 100,000 residents in each metro

Milwaukee also ranked as the best coffee city in America in a previous study.

Looks like we live in the perfect place to enjoy a book with a cup of coffee!

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