Daily time people spend reading books
Even with all the benefits that regular reading brings, people tend to read less and less over the last few years. While 2020 statistics show a promising trend, we need to keep in mind that 2020 was the exception to the rule.
- In 2019, the average US citizen spent 16.2 minutes a day reading for pleasure. Over 365 days, the average citizen spent 98.55 hours reading in 2019.
- This accounts for 1.1% of US citizens’ time in 2019, making it the second-lowest mark since 2009, which came in 2018 with 1.08%.
- The average US reader spent 15.6% less time reading in 2019 compared to 2014, and 20.6% less compared to 2009.
- Ever since 2010, people spent under 20 minutes per day reading for pleasure.
- These stats put the USA on no22 among countries that spend the most time reading
Reading time by age
- People aged 20-24 spent only 6 minutes per day reading for pleasure, making this group the lowest-reading group among US citizens.
- Their reading time is 56.5% down from the 2014 average, and 44.4% down compared to 2009.
- On the other hand, people over 75 years of age spent 43.8 minutes per day reading in 2019, making them the highest-reading group in the USA.
- All age groups below 45 spend less than 10 minutes per day reading.
- Kids aged 15 to 19 increased their daily reading time by 18.2% since 2014, which is the highest increase in reading time among all age groups.
Women spend more time reading than men
Not only that women read faster than men (LINK), but they also spend more time reading. However, the difference in reading time between genders is declining over the years:
- In 2019, women spent reading 18.6 minutes per day, which is 4.8 minutes more compared to men. This is a 35% difference in reading time between genders.
- Since 2009, women never spent less than 17 minutes per day reading for personal interest, while men never spent more than 16 minutes.
- Over the last 10 years, women spent 21.2 minutes per day reading for pleasure, compared to 15 minutes per day for men.
However, the gap between genders has been narrowing down over the last few years:
- The difference in reading time between men and women went from 9 minutes in 2009 to 4.8 minutes in 2019.
- Women spend 16.25% less time reading compared to 2014, and 26.2% less compared to 2009.
- Men reduced their reading time by 14.8% over this period.
- The gap between time spent reading among genders went from 56% in 2009 to 35% in 2019. The gap was the narrowest in 2018, with only a 21% difference, or 3 minutes per day.
Reading time by ethnicity
There are huge differences in reading time when it comes to races and ethnicities. However, these differences became smaller over the last few years, even though they’re still significant:
- The average white person spent 18 minutes per day reading for personal interest in 2019, which is 11% more than the national average.
- At the same time, the average African American spent 7.2 minutes per day reading for pleasure, which is 56% below the national average.
- The average Hispanic US citizen spent only 5.4 minutes per day in reading activities or 66% below the national average.
- On average, white US citizen spends more time reading than African American and Hispanic citizens combined.
On the other hand, annual data show that the gap among different races and ethnicities is getting smaller:
- The difference in daily reading time between White and African American citizens dropped from 14.4 minutes in 2009 to 10.8 minutes in 2019.
Reading time by level of education
From all the categories presented on this page, the largest differences in daily reading time are observed between citizens with different levels of education:
- US citizens with no high school diploma spend only 8.4 minutes per day reading for personal interest, which is 48% below the national average.
- Both high school graduates and citizens with some college or associate degree also read below the national average, 13.2 and 15.6 minutes per day, respectively.
- College graduates with bachelor’s degree read 21.6 minutes daily, 33% over the national average.
- Citizens with advanced degrees read 30.6 minutes per day, which is 89% over the national average.
However, people of all educational levels are reading less in 2019 than they did 5 or 10 years ago. Even the highly educated citizens reduced their daily reading time:
- Since 2014, the biggest drop in reading time experienced high school graduates, who read 26.7% less in 2019.
- Citizens with associate degree reduced the reading time by 23.5% over this period, and by 40.5% since 2009.
- College graduates read 12.2% less compared to 2014, while people with an advanced degree reduced the reading time by 3.3% over the same period.
Unemployed people spend more time reading
- Unemployed US citizens spend 25.8 minutes per day reading for personal interest.
- This is 16.8 minutes more compared to full-time employees, and 7 minutes more compared to the part-time employees.
- Overall, employed citizens read 10.8 minutes per day, which is 33% below the national average.
- Since 2014, employed people reduced their reading time by 10%, and since 2009 this drop stands at 25%.
- Unemployed people also spend less time reading now than 5 or 10 years ago, with a 14% and 15.7% drop, respectively.
When it comes to earnings, people with higher incomes tend to spend more time reading for pleasure compared to lower-income citizens:
- In 2019, people whose earnings fall into the top25% read 12 minutes per day, which is 4.8 minutes more compared to the people from the bottom25%.
- However, top25% earners read 35.5% less compared to 2009, which is the biggest drop in reading time among all categories of earners.
Having children significantly reduces reading time
- In 2019, people who didn’t have children under 18 years of age spent 20.4 minutes per day reading for personal interest.
- On the other hand, people with U18 children read only 8.4 minutes per day, which is 48% below the national reading average.
- Having children under 6 years of age reduces the average daily reading time to only 6.6 minutes.
Which country reads the most books
- Among coutries whose inhabitans spend the most time reading, top4 countries come from Asia.
- Among people who stated they read books, Indian people spend 1.48 hours per day reading.
- 6 other countries have the average daily reading time per capita exeeding 1 hour.
- The United States are on no22, reading 0.8 hours per day reading.
- Among European countries, Checz spend the most time reading, averaging slighly over 1 hour per day.
- 5 out of top10 countries with the highest reading rate come from Europe.