by Petri Maatta

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Reading Statistics

A lovely book and a neatly arranged reading nook are one of the few things that can make a home feel like a home. And, like us, many of your best childhood memories are associated with reading late into the night by the faint light of your nightlight.

You may also be thinking that you don’t have enough time to read anymore.

Maybe you need a little push in the right direction.

We compiled 21 of the most page-turning reading statistics in this post, which will undoubtedly rekindle your love for reading.

Key Facts About Reading Statistics 

  • According to the National Adult Literacy Agency data, 35.4 million US citizens are functionally illiterate.
  • Americans under the age of 45 spend 10 minutes each day reading.
  • In 2018, only 35% of adults in the United States read a book.
  • The United States has a literacy rate of 97.2 %, which places the country at number 28 in the World Factbook.
  • Studies have suggested that adding an extra 10 minutes to your child’s daily reading time can significantly improve her or his reading performance.
  • When it comes to language development, every little bit helps. Every day, toddlers encounter approximately 2 million words.
  • One out of every five children in the UK can’t read adequately by the age of 11.
  • Reading might help delay mental deterioration in old age by 32%.
  • You can be a better decision-maker by reading fiction.
  • Your emotional intelligence (EQ) improves when you read, and your career prospects improve.

United States Reading Statistics 

This part will examine literacy rates and reading habits in the United States in particular.

1. In 2020, 46.7 million US adults will be functionally illiterate. According to PIAAC, only 79% of Americans have a literacy skill level of 2 or higher, even though the general literacy rate in America is 99%. Around 21% of people have difficulties with “tasks that require comparing and contrasting information, paraphrasing, or making low-level inferences.”

2. In the United States, people aged 15–44 spend 10 minutes or less each day reading.

In the age group, we choose to look at, the amount of time spent reading outside of work and school is crucial. The average daily reading duration for people aged 75 and older was 4 hours (44 minutes) compared to 19 minutes for those under 30 years old.

3. The amount of time spent reading has decreased in the United States from 23 minutes to 17 minutes each day. 

Surprisingly, 17 minutes per day is the maximum amount of exercise that an average US citizen gets. Despite the advantages of reading, research shows that we are reading less and less every year. According to statistics, Americans’ average reading time has fallen by six minutes over the last decade.

According to the survey, the %age of Americans reading for fun on a given day declined from 28% to 19%. Some age groups exhibited greater decreases than others, although none recorded an increase in reading time over the studied period.

4. According to adolescent reading statistics, approximately 80% of them do not read for pleasure daily.

According to studies from the American Psychological Association, you were correct. Teens devote significantly more time to social media than they do to reading.

On the other hand, teens spent slightly less time reading and watching television throughout this period. Teenagers have devoured less print material in recent years and watched fewer TV episodes. The majority of the previous leisure activities that belonged to this age group are being replaced by digital media.

5. According to an annual poll, 29% of American adults did not read a book in 2018.

According to reading statistics, adults who haven’t completed college are the least likely to have read a book. In early 2019, 44 % of Americans with a high school degree or less had not read a book in the previous year. Reading time appears to be strongly linked with education level.

In the United States, 92% of college-educated people said they read a book during the same period instead of 80% of non-college-educated individuals. In line with family income, reading habits appear to grow in tandem.

6. The typical number of books read by an American each year is 12.

This is the answer to your question. Although some of these statistics on reading may appear bad, Americans do read many books. The typical for females in the United States is 14 books each year, whereas the average across all groups is four titles per year.

So, if you read more than four books each year, you’re reading for roughly half of the country.

7. In terms of literacy, the United States is ranked 125th out of the 194 countries.

This is disconcerting considering that the United States is a first-world nation. Literacy rates are hard to homogenize, and the most widely accepted definition is the proportion of people age 15 and over who can read and write. Because of reading habits and facilities like libraries, other sources have placed the US much lower on their rankings.

Fun Facts About Reading and Kids

Here, we’ll look at child literacy rates and children’s reading habits.

8. According to this study, reading for a combined five hours per day is better than just three; therefore, adding an extra 1 hour of reading each day can significantly enhance students’ reading abilities.

When it comes to the importance of reading, statistics show that a little bit of reading goes a long way. For example, the variance in reading habits between youngsters who meet the grade-level standards and those who don’t is only 6 minutes per day.

9. Reading to children has been shown in studies to boost the growth of certain brain areas.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal Influence recently reported that reading to a child’s brain activity is linked to youngster brain activity and home reading exposure. They found a significant link between kids being read to and areas involved in language development that were activated.

10. Children who read for at least 20 minutes each day are exposed to nearly 2 million words each year.

Kids who read at home for five minutes each day are expected to hear only 282,000 words each year, whereas kids who read at home for 20 minutes each day are predicted to do much better than 90 % of their peers on standardized exams.

11. Exposing kids to e-books may raise their reading levels by up to 8.4 months, according to a study from Ohio State University.

According to a National Literacy Trust research, accessing an e-book platform boosted children’s reading comprehension. The %age of boys who thought reading was tough fell from 28% at the start of the experiment to 15.9% by its conclusion.

Furthermore, the %age of children in the study who loved reading books on paper rose from 10% to 40%.

12. According to statistics, 83 % of children are ready to enjoy it or like it a lot.

According to the same study, reading aloud to children is becoming more popular. In 2014, the proportion of parents who read to their child before the first year was 73%. That proportion rose in 2018 to 77%.

According to a recent survey, over 80% of parents and kids consider reading aloud to their children as a positive experience. The majority of parents (over 92%) stated that reading aloud is a unique moment between them and their children.

13. According to a recent study, one in five UK children can’t read at a basic level by 11.

According to UK reading statistics, roughly 80% of kids in the United Kingdom do not have a good literacy level at 15. In Northern Ireland, it’s 15%, while it’s 21% in Wales. The proportion of youngsters without a competent reading ability in Scotland is 18%. According to statistics from the United Kingdom, 80% of children do not have good literacy skills at 15.

Interesting Facts About Reading and Mental Health

Reading may have a significant impact on your mental health. We’ll look at how reading can improve your life in this section.

14. Reading for as little as 30 minutes a week can boost your level of happiness in life.

According to research from the University of Liverpool, people who called themselves book readers were 10% more likely than non-readers to have high self-esteem. The %age increases to 18% if we look only at individuals who read for 30 minutes or more every week.

According to one survey, people who read for 30 minutes or more each week had a 21% higher chance of significantly broadening their general knowledge. According to another poll, people reading at least this much were also 27% more likely to find it easy to start a conversation.

15. By up to 32%, reading may help delay mental deterioration in old age.

In a survey of 294 individuals, researchers discovered the significance of reading in later years. People who engaged in mentally stimulating activities late in life had less cognitive deterioration.

However, reading facts have been revealed even more incredible in early life. It was also discovered that retaining the mind active throughout childhood, adolescence, and midlife help to minimize the mental deterioration rate.

16. The University of California, San Diego reports that reading can help reduce stress by up to 68%.

Stress reduction is frequently mentioned regarding the advantages of reading, but there are certain restrictions. For example, if you read something that makes you angry or helpless, such as bad news, the stress-relieving benefits of reading are offset.

According to research, reading has a greater stress reduction effect than some other well-known techniques, such as listening to music or going for a walk. In addition, health and wellness statistics reveal that 30 minutes of reading can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and feelings of psychological distress.

17. According to statistics, 50% of individuals who read before bed report sleeping better than those who do not.

Before you begin self-diagnosing the reasons for your sleeplessness, try reading a good book before going to bed. A nighttime reading ritual is an excellent approach to wind down before sleep, with over 96 % of bedtime readers recommending it to others.

Just make sure that you are not reading on your phone or laptop, as blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin production, which leads to sleep irregularities.

Career-Boosting Statistics About Reading and Success 

We’ll look at how reading may boost your chances of success in this section.

18. Reading fiction has been proven to improve one’s decision-making skills, according to worldwide reading statistics.

If you want to get better at making decisions fast, researchers advise against seeking cognitive closure. What’s one approach to accomplish it? Read fiction, of course.

According to researchers from the University of Toronto, individuals were better able to handle information and embrace uncertainty after reading fictional short stories.

19. Most people with a yearly household salary of $75,000 read at least one book each year.

According to the data, those who make more money also read more. In contrast to the top-earning families, just 70% of those earning less than $30,000 a year reported reading at least one book.

20. According to facts and statistics, youngsters who read in their spare time know 26 % more words than those that don’t.

One of the most significant advantages of reading is that it helps you expand your vocabulary. According to research, youngsters who were tracked from birth for a study discovered that those who grew up in homes where books were loved knew 42% more words than those who didn’t.

A large lexicon is an important talent for success. It lets you interact effectively and is a necessity for leadership, regardless of your line of work.

21. Reading helps to develop emotional intelligence, which positively influences your professional prospects.

According to statistics, fiction readers are more likely to have high degrees of empathy and emotional intelligence than non-readers. Emotional intelligence is a major component of how pleasing others perceive you.

Furthermore, another study from the APA discovered that hiring personnel prefer applicants who are likable to those who are excessively self-promotional.


Hopefully, some of the reading statistics for 2021 clarified how essential it is to begin reading early and keep the habit throughout your life. And while it’s true that there’s no such thing as a bad time to start reading, it’s also true that age isn’t a factor in one’s ability to enjoy literature.

It’s not easy to find a part of your life where the reading wouldn’t benefit you—from overall happiness to a better career outlook, reading opens many doors regardless of your current position. So, cuddle up under a fluffy blanket and pick up your favorite novel if you want to keep your brain healthy!


How many books does the average person read in a year?

According to statistics, in terms of book reading in America, the typical person reads 12 books each year. The median number of books read each year is four, implying that half of the population reads fewer than four books per year.

What are the three most-read books in the world?

Although it’s impossible to determine how many people read these novels, sales figures provide a reasonable estimate. The Bible is the most popular book, with almost four billion copies printed.

The works of Mao Tse-tung were the most widely read in history, with 820 million copies downloaded. The Harry Potter collection was third, with 400 million copies sold.

According to statistics in the United States on Bible reading, 24% of Americans read the Bible every day for an hour or more.

When do kids learn to read?

Typically, youngsters learn to read at the age of six or seven. However, every kid learns at his own pace, and establishing healthy reading habits is more important than hitting any theoretical milestones.

How fast does the average American read?

According to a Staples-sponsored speed-reading exam, the average American adult reads 300 words per minute. Comparing the fastest reader to the average person in America, which can read 3,000 words per minute.

Do CEOs read 60 books a year?

CEOs aren’t always the reading junkies that people think they are. There is no consensus on how many books a typical CEO reads, but certain exceptional cases have fueled a mystique around CEOs’ book habits.

Many people who love reading ardently claim to read hundreds of pages each day. Bill Gates claims to read over 50 books each year. Warren Buffer, another book lover, reads 500+ pages every day.

Which country reads the most?

According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, Indians spend approximately 11 hours each week reading. That’s roughly one day a week where you can read all you want.

According to reading statistics, Thailand has the second-lowest leisure time with 9 hours and 24 minutes per week.


petri maatta, CEO
Petri Maatta

Petri Maatta is a photographer, filmmaker, and webdesigner who has been working for over 20 years in the creative industry. Fascinated by manifesting for business reasons, Petri was determined to find out what it took to create success. He started his career with seven years of business failures before he found success by learning about manifesting from a mentor with a Fortune 500 company. Today Petri shares his knowledge through DreamMaker courses designed to help people change their businesses and lives while living on their terms.

Read more About us or read My Story.


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