There are less than half as many weekday and Sunday papers in circulation now than there were two to three decades ago, according to estimates by Pew Research.
Circulation decreased for weekday papers from nearly 63.3 million in 1984 to about 28.5 million papers in 2018. The Sunday editions reached their height of circulation about a decade later, with nearly 62.6 million Sunday editions distributed in 1993. About 25 years later, there were only 30.8 million Sunday papers distributed in the United States.
Newspaper circulations steadily rose between 1940 and the mid-1980s. In 1940 there were about 41 million weekday papers and 32 million Sunday papers in circulation. 2013 was the first year where weekday circulation numbers dipped below its 1940 numbers, and 2018 is the first year that the Sunday circulation numbers fell below its 1940 levels.
Digital media has severely cut into the traditional print business, slashing the advertising revenue streams for publishers and creating a challenge for attracting paying readers. Both factors have led to massive cutbacks in newsrooms in the U.S.
This chart shows the total estimated peak circulation of U.S. newspapers compared to 2018.
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