The other day, my husband told me a shocking statistic:
42% of college graduates will never read another book after they graduate.
Truly, I was shocked.
I thought, 42% just stop reading – for the rest of their lives?
This implies only 58% of college graduates read books beyond their graduation.
I couldn’t believe it. I had to investigate.
I managed to find the shocking statistic at a site called “Statistic Brains” under their Reading Statistics page. I took a snapshot of the page in case it disappears from the web:
|Total percent of U.S. population that has specific reading disorders||15%|
|Total percentage of american adults who can’t understand the labels on their prescriptions||46%|
|Total percent of young people who claim they read more than 10 books a year||56%|
|Total percentage of U.S. adults who are unable to read an 8th grade level book||50%|
|Total amount of words read annually by a person who reads 15 minutes a day||1 million|
|Total percent of U.S. high school graduates who will never read a book after high school||33%|
|Total percentage of college students who will never read another book after they graduate||42%|
|Total percentage of U.S. families who did not buy a book this year||80%|
|Total percentage of adults that have not been in a book store in the past 5 years||70%|
|Total percentage of books started that aren’t read to completion||57%|
|Total percent of U.S. students that are dyslexic||15%|
|Total percentage of NASA employees that are dyslexic||50%|
|Total number of U.S. inmates that are literate||15%|
Kind of bleak. (And just a tad interesting that 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic, huh?)
When I tried to find the source of these numbers, all I got were other blog sites listing some of the more news-worthy numbers from the above list.
I think I smell an urban legend…
Okay, so the numbers as stated on Statistics Brain are probably bogus, but the reason the numbers scare me is that I have noticed most of the folks I know do not read books.
Oh, they may read the newspaper, and a magazine here or there, but not books.
Within my family, I am the only avid reader. If I stretch it, I can count my brother among me as a reader because he’ll read whatever non-fiction I recommend to him. I guess he averages about three to four books a year, in contrast to my 24 to 32 books a year.
Among my extended family (my husband’s side, whom are somewhat more educated than my family), my brother and I are joined by one other (who happens to read erotica – there’s no way we can compete with their voracious reading habit).
So, out of 13 adults (seven in my family, six in my husband’s family), we have three, regular readers. That’s a measly 23%, even worse than the 58% statistic above.
I guess, correct or not, that 58% is a good thing, and should be pleasantly shocking?
As part of the The Pew Research Center’s investigation on American internet habits, some interesting statistics can be gleamed from their comparison of readers shifting from printed books to ebooks.
In 2011, 19% of adult respondents in their study admitted to reading no books in the previous 12 months.
That’s hopeful, right? That means 81% of adults did read at least one book that year, college graduate or not. Woohoo!
However, their numbers also show that ‘no books read’ has grown. Among similar respondents in 1978, only 8% noted their read no books in a year. Again, if we reverse the statistic, we can deduce that over 90% of adults used to read at least a book a year. It is sad to see that though the study goes on to show that e-book reading is on the rise, over all, reading appears to be on a slight decline.
I suppose, I need to encourage every member of my family to read and read more often!
On a completely different note, the Pew Research Center study also included a write-in question. Respondents were asked to tell what they liked most about book reading. Here are some of the answers:
…a stress-free escape…
…diverting, entertaining and educational…
It draws me away from reality.
…takes you away, like a movie in your head.
…it’s a good way to have an adventure.
Whatever the numbers tell us, I know one thing – we should all be reading more to lose ourselves in an adventure.
Until next time, read.