Pew Research Center Survey

Amid the speculation that younger generations read less than the older population, I was surprised to find very little truth supporting these rumors. The thought that reading levels among young children has dropped because of technology was proven false by a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. After polling 6,224 Americans, the study debunked this myth and others. It revealed some surprising statistics about reading in America, and how e-Readers and technology have become a crucial element in the literary world.

The facts were shocking and overwhelming proved that younger generations, typically ages 30 and under, read more books per year than older generations. Interestingly, adults ages 65 and older are the least likely age group to have read a book in the past year. However, there are a number of factors to take into account such as priority, affordability and accessibility.

Younger age groups may be more likely to read simply due to academics, not to mention the accessibility to free library books can be significantly easier for students. Required or suggested reading for school may also play a role in reading levels.

Older generations may be less likely to read simply due to the ailments of old age. Just a few days ago, my grandmother told me that her eyesight restricts her reading so much that a simple magazine article has proven to be difficult. It’s disheartening to hear but a reality for the older population.

Unsurprisingly, the results of the survey deduced that younger readers ages 16-17 are the group least likely to purchase their books and are the age group most likely to borrow them. Of course, the simple explanation of this statistic is that younger readers have less income than older readers, therefore less likely to spend their money on books as opposed to other items.

One final statistic that struck a chord with me was that the age group of 16-29 was less likely to spend time watching television or movies than the +30 age group. The statistic, 71 percent versus 80 percent, is a true testament to the misconception that the youth are the only group to blame for the rising rates of television watching in America. So often, the younger population is blamed, when in reality this study proves that older generations are more likely to watch television and less likely to read a book.

Though reading levels in America have been declining, it is comforting to know Americans have not stopped reading all together. Toward the end of the article, the researchers state that out of every 10 Americans, four read some type of book, print or electronic, daily. The survey suggests that the introduction of technology has made reading easier, more desirable and more accessible to the younger population. Perhaps this new era of technology isn’t so bad after all.


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