It's February: Shouldn't You Be Reading?
Friday, February 4, 2022
You might think older Americans would read more than their younger counterparts, because of retirement or a more flexible lifestyle. In fact, those ages 50 and older are more likely to be non-book readers.
Lee Rainie, director of internet and technology research for the Pew Research Center, keeps track of America's reading habits.
"Those who are ages 18 to 29, they're the most likely to have read a book of any kind in the previous year," Rainie reported. "Considerably more likely than those who are age 65 and older."
In many parts of the U.S. and Canada, February is designated "I Love to Read Month," a good time to boost reading after the hectic holidays and while spring is still far off for many regions.
Rainie noted electronic or e-books were once expected to surpass traditional books in popularity, but it has not happened.
"There's been a rise in e-book reading, particularly between 2019 and 2021, so over the term of the pandemic," Rainie acknowledged. "But printed books are still far and away the single most popular form of book reading."
Dedicated readers know books can dive deeper into a topic than even the most well-informed journalism can, but Rainie pointed out readers also like traditional books for nostalgic reasons.
"People just rhapsodize about printed books in their hands and their memories as children reading books with their parents, or their memories as parents reading books with their children," Rainie explained.
There is even some data showing reading can make you a better citizen, according to Rainie.
"And there's a lot of sort of correlational evidence that people who are heavy book readers are more civically engaged, more tied to the news, more likely to be participants in civic life, more likely to be volunteers in their communities," Rainie outlined.
He added those with a bachelor's or advanced degree report reading more than those with only a high school diploma, as do those whose annual household income is more than $75,000 per year.
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