How Many Americans Are Regular Readers?
February 3, 2013 | 4:20 pm
By Dan Eldridge
The infographic embedded below isn’t new; I’m pretty sure it was created about six months ago, in fact. But aside from its fantastic art, it always shares a truly important message: The vast majority of Americans don’t read.
Check out the graphic’s first three stats, for instance, if you want to feel instantly depressed. (One-third of high school grads never read another book for the rest of their lives? Really?!)
I initially found that statistic pretty hard to believe. And unlike most infographics, this one doesn’t list its sources. (Shady!) So I decided to do a little research of my own. A Pew study we’ve reported on before was one of many studies and surveys I found about Americans’ reading habits:
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project study titled “The rise of e-reading” (which discusses both print and electronic reading habits, and which was released in early April 2012), only 32 percent of adults over the age of 18 said they’d read somewhere between one and five books in the previous 12 months. Roughly one-fifth of the respondents, meanwhile (19 percent, to be specific), reported that they hadn’t read even one book in the preceding year.
In other words, 68 percent of the respondents—which is roughly two-thirds—hadn’t even read one single book in the past year. (The complete report can be downloaded as a PDF here.)
I realize, of course, that I’m essentially preaching to the converted here. And yet these stats are probably worth thinking about nonetheless—especially on a day when many of us will soon be glued to our TV sets for three hours, enraptured by the sight of grown men playing catch. (Go Niners!)