New Report Shows How Much Time Americans Spend Reading

Books Photo by Cindy Fazzi How much time do you spend reading for pleasure? If you’re like most Americans, it’s probably about 32 to 34 minutes a day. That’s according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I, myself, struggle to find the time to read. I used to read about two hours a day. That was the total length of my commute from New Jersey to Manhattan (and back), five days a week for almost a decade. It was a grueling routine that ultimately drove my family to Salt Lake City, where my commute takes only 20 minutes. The downside: I no longer have as much time to read.

How Americans Use Their Time

The Labor Department’s American Time Use Survey (ATUS) examines the activities that occupy us, measuring the average amount of time per day in 2013 that individuals spent on work, household chores, and leisure and sports.

According to the report, older Americans read more than the young ones, while women read more than men. Overall, watching TV is the most popular pastime, with the majority spending an average of 2.8 hours in front of a tube per day.

Reading Time

Here are some of the highlights of the survey results released on June 18, showing the average amount of time Americans spend reading for pleasure.

  • Total for 15 and older: 32 minutes per week day and 34 minutes per weekend day and holidays
  • 15 to 19 years old: 15 minutes per week day and 7 minutes per weekend day and holidays
  • 75 and older: 93 minutes per week day and 1.03 hours per weekend day and holidays
  • Married Women: 37 minutes per week day and 40 minutes per weekend day and holidays
  • Married Men: 25 minutes per week day and 27 minutes per weekend day and holidays
  • Other Marital Status/Women: 36 minutes per week day and 42 minutes per weekend day and holidays
  • Other Marital Status/Men: 18 minutes per week day and 22 minutes per weekend day and holidays

To look at the summary of the report, go to this Web site; check Table 11 for reading-related statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf