On the non-reading of books by Americans

Why Evolution Is True

I’ve long heard the claim that the average American reads less than one book a year, but a Pew Poll released last November shows that that’s not accurate—in two ways. First, as I note below, the concept of “books read by the average American” isn’t accurate, as the concept of “the average American” is meaningless on this issue. More important, that figure is in fact an underestimate, for 74% of American have read at least one book in the year preceding the survey, and the median value among Americans is four books per year (the median is the number of books read that is exceeded by half the population, and not achieved by the other half; in other words, it’s the number of books read that divides the population into equal moieties). The mean, as I show below, is much higher than that.

The full report (based on phone surveys of 1,520 adults age 18 or…

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