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News Flash: People are Reading Less
buzzed, B&W
On today's Talk of the Nation there was a story about how the National Endowment of the Arts has released a new survey (press release), talking about an average 10% decline in reading from 1982 to 2002. Apparently only 1/3 of adult males read literature, and unsurprisingly, younger age groups had higher declines.

More interestingly, it was found that people who read less, also go out less.
Literary readers are much more likely to be involved in cultural, sports and volunteer activities than are non-readers. For example, literary readers are nearly three times as likely to attend a performing arts event, almost four times as likely to visit an art museum, more than two-and-a-half times as likely to do volunteer or charity work, and over one-and-a-half times as likely to attend or participate in sports activities. People who read more books tend to have the highest level of participation in other activities.
Another interesting tidbit was that people who read more, watch less TV (this is sort of obvious, as people who read, would have less time to watch TV.) But having the correlation confirmed with stats is nice.
For instance, literature readers watched an average of 2.7 hours of television each day, while people who do not read literary works watched an average of 3.1 hours daily. Adults who did not watch TV in a typical day are 48 percent more likely to be frequent readers - consuming from 12 to 49 books each year - than are those who watched one to three hours daily.
I know that while I do enjoy reading, I'm lucky to read a book a month, as I spend a lot more time reading online, watching movies, and spending time with friends. Note that the reading online I do isn't "literature" as the study would define.


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