Millennials read more books than their elders, Pew study finds


More millennials read books than their elders, a new Pew Research report finds.

According to the report, 88% of Americans 16 to 29 years old have read at least one book in the past year, compared with 79% of people 30 and older.

And millennials who read aren’t just picking up one book. “Among younger Americans who did read at least one book, the median or typical number read in the past year was 10,” the report adds.


About 43% of millennials read books on a daily basis; that’s a figure comparable to older adults.

The Pew report, “Younger Americans and Public Libraries,” provides an overview of the use and perception of libraries and reading habits, with a particular focus on millennials.

The researchers divided the millennial group into three “generations”: high-schoolers (ages 16 to 17); those 18 to 24 years old, described as college-aged, “though many do not attend college”; and 25-to-29-year-olds.

Although the news about reading across the millennial “generations” appears to be good, the same can’t be said for libraries.

Millennials are as likely as any other age group to use public libraries, but less likely to value them. “Despite their relatively high use of libraries, younger Americans are among the least likely to say that libraries are important,” the report says.

Here are the details: If their library were to close, 32% of people 30 and older say it would have a major impact on them and their families; only 19% of those younger than 30 say so. Asked if such a closing would have a major impact on the community, 67% of those 30 and older say it would, while the figure for people 30 and under was just 51%.


But the report notes complexities within those numbers that may give hope to library lovers. “Our library engagement typology found that Americans’ relationships with public libraries are part of their broader information and social landscapes, as people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks. Deeper connections with public libraries are also often associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision. As a result, the picture of younger Americans’ engagement with public libraries is complex and sometimes contradictory, as we examine their habits and attitudes at different life stages.”

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