Americans Read Fewer Books in 2021 Than Any of the Past 30 Years


Gallup has just released the results of the 2021 edition of a reading survey they’ve done since 1990. Last year, U.S. Americans reported reading 12.6 books on average, down from 15.6 in 2016, and lower than any of the previous years.

The percentage of respondents who said they had not read at all in the past year has stayed steady at 17%, which is about the same as it’s been since 2002, so the decline was caused by a drop in the amount of people who read more than 10 books: only 27% read more than 10, which is the lowest it’s been recorded.

While all categories showed a decline in average numbers of books read, the biggest difference was in college grads, who went from 21.1 books read per year on average 2002-2016 to 14.6 in 2021.

Only 6% of respondents read 51 books or more in 2021.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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