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People age 65 and older more likely than younger people to read for personal interest

March 05, 2018

March 2 was Read Across America Day and, not coincidentally, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss. This annual program aims to motivate children and teens to read. Let’s look at the most recent data on the reading habits of Americans. On an average day in 2016, 38.3 percent of people age 65 and older read for personal interest. That was a larger percentage than any other age group. By comparison, 9.4 percent of people ages 15 to 24 read for personal interest on an average day in 2016.

 

 

Percent of people who read for personal interest on an average day, 2016 annual averages
Age Both sexes Men Women

15 to 24 years

9.4% 7.9% 11.0%

25 to 34 years

12.0 10.0 14.0

35 to 44 years

13.9 11.4 16.4

45 to 54 years

15.3 13.3 17.3

55 to 64 years

25.5 24.3 26.7

65 years and older

38.3 35.4 40.7

People age 65 and older also spent the most time reading for personal interest. On the days they read, people age 65 and older read for an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes. They read 24 minutes longer than people ages 15 to 24.

 

 

Average hours per day people spent reading for personal interest on days they did so, 2016 annual averages
Age Both sexes Men Women

15 to 24 years

1.38 1.20 1.51

25 to 34 years

1.21 0.99 1.37

35 to 44 years

1.23 1.11 1.31

45 to 54 years

1.15 1.13 1.17

55 to 64 years

1.44 1.56 1.34

65 years and older

1.78 1.77 1.78

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see "American Time Use Survey — 2016 Results" (HTML) (PDF). We also have more charts on how Americans spend their time. Pick up a book and join the nationwide reading celebration! For more stats about books and reading, take a look at our Commissioner’s Corner blog post.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, People age 65 and older more likely than younger people to read for personal interest on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/people-age-65-and-older-more-likely-than-younger-people-to-read-for-personal-interest.htm (visited November 27, 2020).

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