Report: Nearly a quarter of Americans haven’t read a book in the past year | The Numbers Racket

23 percent of U.S. adults say they haven’t read part of or a whole book in print, electronic, or audio format, during the past year

By: - October 18, 2021 6:30 am

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How many books have you read over the past year? Has that number increased or decreased with the COVID-19 pandemic? What other factors might be influencing your decision to read, or not to read?

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that several demographic traits – such as education level, income level and race – were linked with reading or not reading books. 

According to the survey, 23 percent of U.S. adults say they haven’t read part of or a whole book in print, electronic, or audio format, during the past year. 

By Age, Race & Gender

The survey found that 28 percent of those ages 50 and older said they haven’t read a book in the past 12 months, compared to 19 percent of those ages 18-49. 

Among white adults, 20 percent said they hadn’t read a book in the past 12 months, compared to 25 percent of Black adults and 38 percent of Hispanic adults. 

Strangely enough, Pew reports that there was “not a statistically significant difference by gender.”

Education, Income & Location

Social determinants also played a role in whether or not respondents had read a book in the last year. 

According to the survey, 39 percent of respondents with a high school education or less reported that they hadn’t read a book in the past 12 months, compared to 17 percent of respondents with some college education and 11 percent with advanced degrees. 

Similarly, respondents who made less than $30,000 per year were more likely to say they haven’t read a book in the past year (31 percent) than those making $30,000-$74,999 (24 percent) or those making more than $75,000 per year (15 percent). 

Where a respondent lived also influenced their answer. 

Just 18 percent of respondents who lived in an urban area said they hadn’t read a book in the past year compared to 25 percent who lived in a suburban area and 29 percent who lived in a rural area. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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