Americans are reading fewer books: Gallup poll


A new Gallup poll shows Americans have read an average of 12.6 books over the past year, lower than the 2016 average of 15.6 and the lowest number Gallup has measured in an earlier survey since 1990.

The survey asked more than 800 American adults how many books in any format they had “read, in whole or in part” in the past year. Gallup said the decline in reading is due to the number of books readers are reading, as opposed to fewer Americans reading books. Seventeen percent of American adults said they had not read any books in the past year, which is similar to the 16% and 18% measured in surveys from 2002 to 2016.

While 35% of respondents read more than 10 books in 2016, that number fell to 27% in 2021, lower than all previous measures 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 driving a drop in visits to libraries or bookstores, similar to the documented declines in air travel and cinema attendance that Gallup found in the same survey. However, unlike these activities, for reading, Americans can order books or download e-books or audiobooks without leaving home.

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

Category: International news


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