Audio podcast consumption in the U.S. 2008-2020

In 2020, a survey on podcast consumption revealed that 37 percent of U.S. adults had listened to a podcast within the last month, a figure which has more than tripled over the past decade. Weekly podcast consumption has also sharply increased, and some of the world’s leading podcast publishers achieve millions of unique streams and downloads per month.

Podcast consumption in the U.S.

Once a niche format, podcasts have now become part of the mainstream media landscape. Between 2009 and 2019, the share of Americans who had ever listened to an audio podcast more than doubled, growing from 22 to 51 percent.

As podcasts have grown in popularity, so has the variety of content available in the format. Some of the more popular podcast genres are music and comedy, but tens of millions of U.S. households have fans of sports, science, news and arts podcasts too. Podcasts are often also used as part of marketing strategies or to generate engagement between bloggers, news publications, or even different departments within a company. Like most forms of modern media, podcasts frequently include ads, and podcast ad revenue reached almost 480 million U.S. dollars in the United States in 2018. By 2021, it is expected that advertising revenue in this sector will grow by around 200 million each year and will exceed one billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

For U.S. consumers, podcasts are not just a source of inspiration or a way to escape from daily life but also an opportunity to educate themselves. In a survey held in early 2019, the majority of respondents said that their main reason for listening to podcasts was to learn new things. There are podcasts on philosophy, history, travel, and business, as well as much more including content aimed solely at educating children.

Share of U.S. population that have listened to an audio podcast in the last month from 2008 to 2020

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Release date

March 2020


United States

Survey time period

2008 to 2020

Number of respondents

2014: 2,023; 2015: 2,002; 2016: 2,001; 2017: 2,000; 2018: 2,000; 2019: 1,500; 2020: 1,502

Age group

12 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

*New definition starting in 2013. One definition of podcasting is downloading various types of online audio and video programs or shows, in the form of digital files you can listen to or view at any time you choose. Some examples of podcasting might include a talk show or a hosted music program. Podcasting does NOT refer to the downloading of individual MP3s or songs or movies.

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Statistics on "Podcasting in the U.S."

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