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Americans reading fewer books: Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll shows Americans read an average of 12.6 books during the past year, fewer than the average of 15.6 in 2016 and the smallest number Gallup has measured in any prior survey since 1990.

The survey asked more than 800 American adults how many books in any format they ‘read, either all or part of the way through’ in the past year. Gallup said the decline in reading is due to how many books readers are reading, as opposed to fewer Americans reading any books. Seventeen percent of US adults said they didn’t read any books in the past year, similar to the 16% and 18% measured in the 2002 to 2016 surveys.

While 35% of respondents read more than 10 books in 2016, that number dropped to 27% in 2021—lower than every prior measure by at least four percentage points.

‘The reasons for the decline in book reading are unclear, with Americans perhaps finding other ways to entertain themselves,’ Gallup said. ‘It is uncertain whether concerns about Covid or Covid-related restrictions are leading to a decline in visits to libraries or bookstores, similar to the documented declines in air travel and movie theater attendance Gallup found in the same poll. However, unlike those activities, for reading, Americans can order books or download electronic books or audiobooks without leaving their homes.’

The average number of books read peaked in 1999 at 18.5.


Category: International news