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Millennials are the Best-Read Generation

Between physical books, e-readers, and book apps, Millennials are more likely to read a book in any format than any other generation.

According to new data, Millennials are actually reading at a higher rate than any other generation.


A combination of factors, including growing up during the Harry Potter phenomenon, the prevalence of e-readers and book apps, as well as coming of age while a literature-loving president was in office, all likely contribute to Millennials’ love of reading.

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials read more than older generations do—and more than the last generation did at the same age. In fact, Millennials take the lead on other generations in reading and still generally prefer print books to e-books. As reported in Forbes, last year, 72% of Americans read a print book, dwarfing the share who read an e-book (35%) or listened to an audiobook (16%).

According to the latest Pew Research Center survey on book reading, 18- to 29-year-olds are the age group most likely to have read a book in any format over the past year. When asked why they read books or any written content in general (such as magazines or blogs), Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say that it’s for a specific purpose, such as work, school, or research. But they’re also equally likely to read “for pleasure” or “to keep up with current events.”

Last year, a study conducted by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) found that 43% of 18- to 34-year-olds specifically read literature (defined as novels, plays, short stories, or poems not required by work or school), outmatched only by Baby Boomers at 49%. An older NEA report also found that

Forbes found that, according to an older NEA report, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who read literature rose sharply starting in 2002, when this age group began to be dominated by Millennials. Perhaps there’s no coincidence that this was right in the middle of the Harry Potter phenomenon!

It remains to be seen whether Gen Z, the generation after Millennials, will continue this trend, but it seems likely considering their social consciousness, although they might tend more towards book related apps given their reliance on mobile technology.

How often do you read books, either in print or on an e-reader? Join the conversation on Twitter at @WhatTheGen or @JasonDorsey and don’t forget to add your #generation!

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