The share of Americans who read for pleasure on a given day has fallen by more than 30 percent since 2004, according to the latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ;:Survey data from the Pew Research Center and Gallup have shown, meanwhile, that the share of adults not reading any book in a given year nearly tripled between 1978 and 2014. ...
That steep drop means that aggregate reading time among Americans has fallen, from an average of 23 minutes per person per day in 2004 to 17 minutes per person per day in 2017. ...
It's tempting to blame the decline on the recent proliferation of computers, cellphones, video games and the like. But the data don't really bear that out. For one, the NEA data show that reading has been on the wane since at least the 1980s, well before the advent of Facebook and Fortnite.

A long-term study of reading trends in the Netherlands points to a different culprit: television. From 1955 to 1995, TV time exploded while weekly reading time declined. “Competition from television turned out to be the most evident cause of the decline in reading,” the authors of that study concluded.

In the United States, the American Time Use Survey shows that while the average reading time fell between 2004 and 2017, the average amount of time watching TV rose.

In 2017, the average American spent more than 2 hours 45 minutes per day watching TV, every day of the year, or nearly 10 times the amount of time they devoted to reading for pleasure.
- Christopher Ingraham, Leisure reading in the U.S. is at an all-time low, Washington Post, June 29, 2018

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