Reading vs. Gaming (Time Use Stats)

Reading vs. Gaming (Time Use Stats)

The average person spends 16.2 minutes per day reading, which presents 5.2% of total leisure time on a daily basis. While reading time declined over the years, we dived into how it compares with other leisure activities, most of all watching television and playing video games.

Reading vs. playing video games

  • The average person spends 9.6 more minutes per day on gaming compared to reading.
  • The difference between the average gaming and reading time increased significantly over the years, from 3 minutes in 2009 to maximum 12.6 minutes in 2018.
  • Since 2010, the average US citizen never spent more than 20 minutes per day reading for personal interest, and never spent under 24 minutes per day on gaming.
  • During the same period, the difference between daily gaming and reading time has never been under 5 minutes.

Men play games way more than they read

  • On average, men read for personal interest around 13.8 minutes per day, while they play games for about 33 minutes daily.
  • This means that men spend 239% more time on gaming compared to reading books.
  • This gap got bigger over the years, as it stood at 11.4 minutes in 2009, and 14.4 minutes in 2015.
  • On the other hand, women spend as much time on reading as they do on playing games, with 18.6 minutes per day.
  • Since 2009, women spent more time reading than gaming 6 times, more on gaming 3 times, and equal amount on both 2 times.
  • However, the last time women read more than they engaged with gaming was in 2015.

Reading vs. gaming by age

  • U20-year-olds spend almost the full hour more per day playing games than reading, 59.4 minutes.
  • This is the largest difference between gaming and reading time in history.
  • All age groups below 45 years of age spend more time gaming than reading.
  • Difference in reading time vs. gaming time for over-75-year-olds reduced by 50% over the last 5 years.
CategoryAge20092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Reading15-19 yrs97.296.67.86.611.47.28.47.27.8
Reading20-24 yrs10.810.27.2913.813.86.68.46.66.66
Reading25-34 yrs9.68.498.46.67.810.296.667.2
Reading35-44 yrs11.410.21211.49.6910.210.29.699.6
Reading45-54 yrs17.41515.615.612.613.813.210.812.69.615
Reading55-64 yrs28.222.222.825.825.222.222.222.21816.216.8
Reading65-74 yrs42393640.844.437.839.633.634.836.631.8
Reading75 yrs and over61.856.44858.257.665.461.251.6514843.8
Playing games15-19 yrs53.455.264.250.452.85464.855.26361.867.2
Playing games20-24 yrs25.843.243.250.442.65143.240.261.257.648.6
Playing games25-34 yrs2422.824.62424.623.42127.628.234.231.2
Playing games35-44 yrs17.418.61816.816.816.81513.812.616.816.8
Playing games45-54 yrs15.613.216.21816.217.41513.21813.213.2
Playing games55-64 yrs17.418.619.216.22121.619.216.217.419.213.2
Playing games65-74 yrs22.821.625.22431.828.226.428.228.823.419.8
Playing games75 yrs and over25.826.422.222.22428.82727.625.825.825.8

Reading vs. gaming during pandemic

  • Even though reading time was up during 2020 (May to December) by 4.2 minutes per day, gaming time increased by 11.4 minutes daily.
  • During pandemic, people spent 16.8 more minutes per day gaming than reading, making the gap 39% bigger compared to before the pandemic.
  • That is also the biggest difference between gaming and reading time in history.
  • The difference is especially noticeable in male population, who spent 31.2 more minutes playing games than reading books.
  • Women also played games more during pandemic, 3.6 minutes more per day.

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