Off the Shelf: How Much Do Americans Read?

By Sharon Saye on February 20, 2019 from Off the Shelf via

Sarah Nicolas on the online reading site, “Bookriot,” delved into statistics about the average person who spends time reading this week.  Her statistics were quite interesting, especially to a reader.
According to her site, people in the United States who were 15 or older spent around 16.8 minutes every day reading.  This does not include for work or school.  Women read six minutes more per day than men.  People aged 20-34 read the least at 6.6 minutes per day while teenagers read a little more than 8 minutes a day.  Those 75 and older read the most at the impressive average of 51 minutes a day.
24% of American adults hadn’t read a book in the past year.  Richer adults read three times more than households with income under $30,000 per year.  College graduates read more, suburban dwellers read more as do city dwellers. 
Comparing the U.S. to the rest of the world, we tie with Germany for 22nd place in terms of times spent reading.  The country that reads the most is India at 11 hours per week.  eBooks are most popular in China with 28% of their retail sector.  The United States is at 18%.
K-12 students can bring up their grades with only 6 extra minutes of reading per day.  Those who read 15 minutes or more per day had accelerated reading gains.  If you are a third grader who is proficient in reading you are 5 times more likely to graduate high school. 
For seniors, reading can produce significant gains.  Book readers have a 20% “reduction in risk of mortality” over 12 years.  Book readers also had an advantage over those who only read newspapers or magazines.  People who participate in mental activities like reading are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.  Also, adults who read for 30 minutes a week felt 20% more satisfied with their lives.  And reading reduces stress even more than listening to music, having a cup of tea or taking a walk.
So, a thank you is deserved for Sarah Nicolas for all these positive-for-reading statistics, but she also pointed out the studies show that Americans spend 10 times more time watching TV than reading.  Let’s work on that.

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