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Number of books read in the past 12 months in the U.S. 1978-2011

This graph illustrates the results of a survey about the number of books read in the past 12 months in the United States since 1978*. In broad strokes, fewer people are reading books now than in 1978, but the data have fluctuated over time. In the first Gallup survey in the summer of 1978, 12 percent of adults said they had not read a book in the previous 12 months or refused to answer a question about book reading. In 2011, 19 percent of the Americans had not read a book in the previous 12 months.

Share of U.S. adults who say they have read this number of books in the past 12 months between 1978 and 2011

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Source

Release date

April 2012

Region

United States

Survey time period

July 1978 to December 2011

Number of respondents

n = 2,986

Age group

16 years and older

Method of interview

Computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI)

Supplementary notes

* The data between 1978 and 2005 are based on the Gallup organization’s surveys, the data of 2011 are based on the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Reading Habits Survey.
PEW survey: n=2,986 respondents age 16 and older

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