In 2018, the average American spent 15 minutes per day reading for pleasure.
As an author, I’m appalled. I think.
If you read 15 minutes per day, that means you read 5,475 minutes per year. If you’re spending this time reading books, and it takes you about 10 hours to read your average book, that means the average American is reading about 9 books per year.
This isn’t great, but it’s also not terrible. It’s actually more than I would’ve guessed. Not high enough, to be sure, but it’s something.
I’ve published five books so far (with a sixth on the way in November), so it’s especially not terrible if five of those nine books are mine.
Meanwhile, the amount of time spent watching television was 2 hours and 50 minutes per day.
This number is horrific. This means that 45 days - 12% of the year - are being spent watching television by the average American. If you consider just the average number of waking hours per day, the number rises to almost 20% of the time. If you consider the average number of leisure hours per day, that number rises to an astonishing 56%.
More than half of leisure time in America is spent in front of the television.
But even that number seems relatively small compared to men over age 65. That particular group spends just over 5 hours of television per day in 2018.
Admittedly many of these men are retired and have more leisure time, but damn… retirement sucks.
Here’s the only positive spin I can find on these unfortunate numbers:
It doesn’t take much effort to use your time more wisely than the average American. When the average American is spending enormous amounts of time sitting on their couch, watching a screen, you can just get off the couch, go for a walk, and already be living a better life.