Reading habits and demographics: a round up

This post is primarily just a place to gather some facts and figures on a related topic to others I have been discussing. How do reading habits differ by gender and other demographics? I am off in search of some numbers.

First stop (as with Petunias) is the Pew Research Center.

This table from that report gives an extensive background by a number of demographic indicators.

Several things to note. People are still reading and all ages are reading in the USA. E-books are important but print is still big. Women do read more than men but men do read a lot. Young people are reading and all ethnicities (of those listed) are reading. There is a relationship between income and the proportion of people who read regularly but even the lowest income bracket contains a large proportion of people who read regularly.

This next table though highlights some bigger disparities by considering how many books people read in the previous 12 months.

A big difference between the mean (add up your data in a big total and divide by how many people) and the median (put the people in order by how many books they read, see what value is in the middle) suggests a data set that is very asymmetric. Some people read an awful lot more books than others, and they drag the mean upwards. In this case the best figure to use for the the ‘typical’ person’s reading habits is probably the median – 5 books a year overall in the USA.

This report from Pew looks at the reading habits of younger people in the USA.

So young people are still reading.

The Goodreads website conducted research on 40,000 of their members that is discussed here. Interesting data but obviously confined to the habits of Goodreads users.

This research of UK school children by the National Literacy Trust http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0001/8829/Young_people_s_reading_2012_-_Final.pdf gives a breakdown of reading habits on multiple levels. The statistics collating website Statista has this graph by genre from the same data.

Statistic: Favourite book genres among boys and girls in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2012 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

And that is all for now. Looking form more genre-breakdown stats.

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2 thoughts on “Reading habits and demographics: a round up

  1. I saw a discussion elsewhere (can’t dig out the link, I’m afraid) about the books read by those people who read only 1 or 2 a year, and how true runaway success in selling a book involves reaching those people. The specific example was either Twilight or 50 Shades.

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