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Paid circulation of daily newspapers in the U.S. 1985-2018

The statistic above presents circulation data of daily newspapers in the United States from 1985 to 2018. Circulation numbers peaked in 1987 when they amounted to over 62.82 million. In 2018, the paid circulation of daily newspapers was 28.6 million.

Paid circulation of US daily newspapers

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the newspaper industry has felt vast repercussions from the transition to the digital information and technology economy. While the number of subscribers and overall circulation has always been important for newspaper publishers, for much of their history they have been supported primarily through their advertising revenues and despite increasing advertising trends overall, they have largely been unable to capitalize on the continued ad spend growth. Advertising spending has tended to shy away from heavy investments in print advertising.

The New York Times is one of America's biggest newspapers and, despite the decline of the print newspaper industry, the paper has maintained a paid Sunday circulation of over one million copies. As a result, the company's circulation revenue has, despite the bleak outlook of the market, actually increased in recent years, reaching 880 million U.S. dollars in 2016. The New York Times Company recognized the important of the growing digital market and, as a result, the company's digital only news product remains one of its most important segments. As of the end of 2016, this product had over 1.6 million subscribers, a large increase from the 800 thousand subscribers at the start of 2014.

Paid circulation of daily newspapers in the United States from 1985 to 2018

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Release date

July 2019


United States

Survey time period

1985 to 2018

Supplementary notes

To determine totals for 2015 onward, researchers analyzed the year-over-year change in total weekday and Sunday circulation using AAM data and applied these percent changes to the previous year’s total. Only those daily U.S. newspapers that report to AAM are included. Affiliated publications are not included in the analysis. Weekday circulation only includes those publications reporting a Monday-Friday average. For each year, the comparison is for all newspapers meeting these criteria for the three-month period ending Dec. 31 of the given year. Comparisons are between the three-month averages for the period ending Dec. 31 of the given year and the same period of the previous year.
The source does not provide figures for 2010.
Data for 2015 to 2018 is based on Pew Research Center analysis of Alliance for Audited Media data.

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Statistics on "Newspaper industry in the U.S."

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