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Time spent reading for personal interest in 2020

August 09, 2021

During the pandemic in 2020, people age 15 and over spent about 4 minutes more per day reading for personal interest than they did in 2019.

Average hours per day spent reading for personal interest, by presence of household children and age of youngest child, May to December, 2019 and 2020
Presence of a household child 2019 2020

Total 15 and over

0.28 hour 0.34 hour

No household children under 18

0.35 0.44

Household children under 18

0.14 0.16

Children 13 to 17 years, none younger

0.17 0.18

Children 6 to 12 years, none younger

0.14 0.18

Youngest child under 6 years

0.12 0.13

People living in households without children spent more time reading for personal interest than those in households with children under 18 (26 minutes, or 0.44 hour, versus 10 minutes, or 0.16 hour, in 2020). Those living in households without children spent about 5 minutes more a day reading in 2020 compared to 2019, while the amount of time people in households with children spent reading remained about the same.

Average hours per day spent reading for personal interest, by age group, May to December 2020
Age Hours per day

Total 15 years and older

0.34 hour

15 to 19 years

0.14

20 to 24 years

0.20

25 to 34 years

0.19

35 to 44 years

0.20

45 to 54 years

0.23

55 to 64 years

0.29

65 to 74 years

0.72

75 years and older

0.95

Time spent reading for personal interest varied greatly by age. During the pandemic in 2020, people age 75 and older averaged 57 minutes (or 0.95 hour) of reading per day. People ages 15 to 44 read on average for 12 minutes or less per day.

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see "American Time Use Survey — May to December 2019 and 2020 Results."

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Time spent reading for personal interest in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/time-spent-reading-for-personal-interest-in-2020.htm (visited December 02, 2021).

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