According to Publishers Weekly, the National Endowment for the Arts or NEA came up with a new report where they mentioned that the reading rates among adults have reduced rigorously in the last five years. In the study, it was mentioned that within 12 months to July 2022, only 48.5% of adults read one or more books for pleasure. The data has been reduced from 52.7%, which was reported back in 2017.
Before 2017, back in 2012, the data difference in five years declined a little, but only by under 2%. The decrease in 2022, however, has been significant. The current data is based on a survey of 40,718 adults.
Note that, within the five-year span (2017 to 2022), the decline in book reading was similar for both men and women. However, women seem to be more into reading books than men. This could be justified by the data, which indicates that 56.6% of women read books as compared to 40% of men.
One of the significant downfalls in the reading category was noted for the older readers. Back in 2017, only 53.6% of older adults between 55–64 years of age were into reading. However, in 2022, the number declined to 43.6%. Meanwhile, the reading percentage for young people between 18-34 years was steady.
Among the other areas that showed a decline, there was about a 4% reduction in readers of novels and short stories, with data showing only 37.6% of readers being interested in the same. This was the lowest percentage ever for novels or short stories since 1992 (the year when the surveys began), as per NEA’s director of research and analysis, Sunil Iyengar.
“The persistent decline in fiction reading is worrisome because we know how much reading can lead to broader types of cultural and civic participation, and also because reading builds imagination, empathy, close attention, and tolerance of ambiguity,” he added.
Meanwhile, the study authors wrote about the matter, mentioning the fact that “our stretches of isolation and self-quarantining were unaccompanied by a boom in reading novels or short stories.”
Earlier, there was another research that showed a decline in reading for pleasure among young teens.