Americans are less likely to read on an average day than they were 10 years ago, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the American Time Use Survey. Only 21 percent of people aged 15 or older read for personal interest as a primary activity on an average day in 2015, down from 27 percent in 2005. But more used a computer for leisure (excluding playing games) in 2015 than in 2005. More also played games (including computer games).
Declining Participation: percent participating on average day in 2015 (and 2005)
Working: 42.1% (44.5%)
Shopping: 40.4% (41.4%)
Reading: 21.1% (26.8%)
Caring for children: 20.3% (21.7%)
Telephone calls: 13.6% (15.2%)
Lawn/garden/houseplant care: 9.8% (10.4%)
Attending sports/recreational events: 0.7% (1.3%)
Growing Participation: percent participating on average day in 2015 (and 2005)
Participating in sports/exercise/recreation: 21.0% (18.4%)
Caring for animals/pets: 17.0% (13.6%)
Computer use for leisure (except games): 13.0% (9.3%)
Playing games (including computer): 11.2% (9.0%)
Health-related self-care: 7.0% (6.1%)
Receiving medical services: 3.6% (3.3%)
Job search and interviewing: 1.3% (1.0%)
What's behind these changes? The aging of the population is one factor. Others include the ongoing baby bust and a shift in leisure preferences from reading to surfing the internet.
Note: Primary activities are those respondents identify as their main activity.
Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey