Reading vs. Watching TV (Time Use Stats)

Reading vs. Watching TV (Time Use Stats)

While the average reading time stands at 16.2 minutes per day, it accounts for only 5.2% of total leisure time. As reading time declined over the years, we decided to investigate how reading time compares to the time people spend watching television and playing video games.

Reading vs. watching tv over the years

  • The average person watches TV around 2.8 hours per day, which is 2.54 hour more than they spend reading for personal interest.
  • The difference between TV time and reading time is the second-highest in hostory, after 2.58 hours in 2018.
  • People spend 90.4% more on watching television that reading a book.
  • Since 2009, the difference beteen TV time and reading time has never been under 2.4 hours.

Men watch TV more and read less compared to women

  • The average male reads around 13.8 minutes per day for personal interest, but spends 3 hours per day watching television.
  • Since 2009, this difference never went under 2.7 hours for the average male.
  • The highest difference was in 2018, when men watched TV for 2.85 hours more than they spent reading on a daily basis.
  • Women tend to watch TV slightly less and read more compared to men.
  • The difference between daily TV time and reading time for the average women stands at 2.33 hours.
  • However, this is the largest difference in favor of TV time in history.

Reading vs. watching TV by age

  • Even though they read the most, senior citizens also tend to watch TV the most among all age groups.
  • On average, person over 75 years of age spend 4 hours more watching TV than rading during the day.
  • This is the first time in history that difference between TV and reading time exeeds 4 hours for any age group.
  • On the other hand, even though they read the least amount of time, people under 20 years of age also watch the TV less frequently.
  • That’s why the difference between TV and reading time for U20 people stands at 1.9 hours.
  • This is 3rd time in 4 years that this difference remained under 2 hours.
CategoryAge20092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Watching TV15-19 yrs2.322.312.172.292.172.422.41.942.052.232.04
Watching TV20-24 yrs2.452.312.242.352.182.472.122.121.942.012.22
Watching TV25-34 yrs2.382.182.092.322.142.062.151.952.012.031.99
Watching TV35-44 yrs2.362.232.222.32.242.162.092.072.092.122.03
Watching TV45-54 yrs2.682.632.712.692.662.682.582.662.642.562.44
Watching TV55-64 yrs3.233.033.23.263.243.253.233.263.233.363.24
Watching TV65-74 yrs3.763.843.974.024.14.034.034.14.194.344.48
Watching TV75 yrs and over4.424.434.424.254.164.524.484.334.624.784.77
Reading15-19 yrs0.150.120.150.110.130.110.190.120.140.120.13
Reading20-24 yrs0.180.170.120.150.230.230.110.140.110.110.1
Reading25-34 yrs0.160.140.150.140.110.130.170.150.110.10.12
Reading35-44 yrs0.190.170.20.190.160.150.170.170.160.150.16
Reading45-54 yrs0.290.250.260.260.210.230.220.180.210.160.25
Reading55-64 yrs0.470.370.380.430.420.370.370.370.30.270.28
Reading65-74 yrs0.70.650.60.680.740.630.660.560.580.610.53
Reading75 yrs and over1.030.940.80.970.961.091.020.860.850.80.73
Reading time and TV time over the years (hours per day)

Reading vs. watching TV during pandemic

  • From May to December 2020, people spent over 3 hours per day watching TV, the at least since 2009.
  • TV time increased by 14.4 minutes per day compared to 2019, while reading time increased by 4.2 minutes.
  • The difference between reading and TV time has never been higher than it was during 2020, 2.71 hours per day.
  • This is especially true for men, who spent exactly 3 more hours watching TV than reading books during 2020.
  • Women also increasde their TV time more than reading time, spending 2.45 hours more in front of the television than in from of the book.

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