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Number of daily newspapers in the U.S. 1970-2016

Number of daily newspapers in the United States from 1970 to 2016

by Amy Watson, last edited Aug 9, 2019
Number of daily newspapers in the U.S. 1970-2016 According to the most recently available data, there were 1,286 daily newspapers in the United States in 2016. The number of daily newspapers in the U.S. has been on the decline since 1970, when there were 1,748 daily news publications in the country. However, given the ongoing struggle of print media around the world, a decrease of around 460 newspapers over several decades is more positive than many might expect.
Daily newspapers in the U.S.

Whilst the actual number of daily newspapers has remained comparatively stable since the 1970s, the same cannot be said for circulation figures. In 2017, the paid circulation of daily newspapers in the United States amounted to 30.92 million, more than half the figure recorded for 1985. Even the major players in the industry are suffering – Chicago Tribune’s daily circulation fell from just over 438 thousand in September 2017 to 238 thousand in early 2019. Household names like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal also saw a sharp drop in circulation figures, leaving little hope for smaller publications.

News consumers and the reluctance to pay

Media markets across the world have become saturated with digital alternatives to print, and U.S. consumers can now access news content, gossip columns and reports on the latest sports games from a variety of sources, rendering daily newspapers in particular less valuable and sought after than ever before. The reasons to pick up a newspaper on your daily commute when the information you seek is available online are becoming hazy – why pay for print when you can get the digital version for free? In fact, a 2018 study revealed that the vast majority of surveyed U.S. adults had not paid for any local news content in the last year.

However, a small solace for print-only news outlets is that even digital news providers are not completely safe from consumers’ reluctance to pay. A report revealed that the wealth of free content available was the main reason why U.S. consumers were unwilling to pay for online news.

Sadly, the future situation for print outlets does not look bright, and for news providers in general there lies a constant uphill struggle to maintain integrity, prove accuracy and capture the attention of new and current consumers alike.
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Number of daily newspapers in the United States from 1970 to 2016

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