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Americans who haven't read a book in a year have a lot in common

About a quarter of American adults haven't read a book in a year - who are they?
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It's a question you might be asked on a first date or during a job interview: What's the last book you read?

And it might be a hard one to answer for about a quarter of American adults who haven't read a book in a year - a statistic Pew Research Center discovered earlier this year. Their survey showed that 65 percent of Americans have read a print book in the last year, 28 percent have read an e-book, and 14 percent have listened to audio books.

But 26 percent haven't read a book in any form in a year. So who reads and who doesn't?

Pew conducted another survey to find out. Here's what they found...

Non-book readers have a lot in common

Survey results show that non-book readers share several demographic traits, Pew says.

For example, adults who have a high school degree or less are three times more likely (40 percent vs. 13 percent) than college graduates to not read anything in the past year. Pew speculates part of the reason is that less-educated adults are also the least likely to own smartphones or tablets - a format that readers are using at an increasing rate.

Another characteristic of non-book readers is their income: adults who make less than $30,000 a year are twice as likely to be non-book readers.

And when it comes to age, older Americans don't read as much - 29 percent of adults ages 50 and older have not read a book in the past year, compared with 23 percent of adults under 50.

A few more traits:

  • Hispanic adults are almost twice as likely as whites (40 percent vs. 23 percent ) to report not having read a book in the past 12 months.
  • Men are less likely than women to have read a book in a year.
  • Adults in rural areas are less likely to have read compared with those in urban areas.

And they aren't going to the library

If books aren't really a part of your life, then it makes sense that you wouldn't be visiting libraries either.

Men, Hispanics, older adults, those living in households earning less than $30,000 and those who have no more than a high school diploma or did not graduate from high school are the most likely to report they have never been to a public library.

Pew said the number of Americans who haven't read a book in a year hasn't really changed much since 2012, but is slightly higher than 2011, when they first started surveying book-reading habits.

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