How much time do people spend reading for fun?

Americans average 16.5 minutes a day

American women spend just 19.8 minutes a day reading for pleasure, according to the 2018 American Time Use study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American men spend even less: an average of 13.2 minutes a day.

How much time do people spend reading for fun?

All time low Americans spend less than 20 minutes a day reading for fun. How much of that time do you think they’re spending on your piece? Image by Giulia Bertelli.

That means that on average, Americans spend about 16.5 minutes reading for fun. At that rate, it would take most readers 17 days to finish The Woman in the Window.

Younger people spend less time reading for pleasure.

When it comes to reading for fun, older people spend more time than younger folks, according to the BLS.

  1. 15- to 44-year-olds: average 51 minutes of reading a day
  2. 45- to 55-year-olds: 12.6 minutes a day
  3. 55- to 65-year-olds: 18 minutes a day
  4. People who are 75 years old or older: 51 minutes a day

They’re watching TV instead.

Americans average five hours and 15 minutes of leisure time a day. What are they doing instead of reading?

  1. Watching TV occupied the most time: 2.8 hours a day on average. That’s almost half of all leisure time.
  2. Using a computer for games or leisure: 27.9 minutes a day. People ages 15 to 24 spent the most time using their computers for fun — about an hour each day. Those ages 35 to 44 spent the least amount of time using a computer for fun: just 13 minutes a day.
  3. Socializing and communicating 39 minutes a day.
  4. Relaxing and thinking: 21 minutes a day.

Do the math.

While they spend only a few minutes a day reading for fun, Americans receive the data equivalent of 174 newspapers a day — ads included, according to a study by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

How much of their 16.5 minutes a day of reading time do you think they’re spending on your piece?

Find out how much time it takes people to read your piece.

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Sources: “American Time Use Survey Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 28, 2018

James E. Short, “USC CTM Releases Report on Americans’ Media Consumption,” USC Marshall School of Business, Oct. 28, 2013

James E. Short, “USC CTM Releases Report on Americans’ Media Consumption,” USC Marshall School of Business, Oct. 28, 2013

Richard Alleyne, “Welcome to the information age – 174 newspapers a day,” The Telegraph, Feb. 11, 2011

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