Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/12/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  

READING

In 2006, the (ABS 2008a) Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that reading was a favourite activity for 61% of people aged 15 years and over. The activity was a favourite for 73% of females surveyed, compared with 50% of males.

More than three quarters (77%) of those aged 15 years and over read a newspaper at least once a week with 58% and 48% reading magazines and books respectively. People likely to read more frequently were those in the 45-64 years age group and those with university or higher qualifications.

1.7 ADULT READING PREFERENCES(a)(b), By selected characteristics - 2006

Newspapers at least once a week
Books at least once a week
Magazines at least once a week
%
%
%

Male
78.6
39.2
55.1
Female
75.9
56.1
60.5
Age group (years)
15-29
67.7
42.8
55.1
30-44
78.8
48.6
57.8
45-64
82.4
50.4
62.2
65 and over
82.0
49.6
50.3
Educational attainment
University or higher
84.5
64.5
66.5
Trade or diploma
79.4
47.0
59.2
Year 12
77.1
48.8
59.4
Total
77.3
47.7
57.8

(a) Persons aged 15 years and over.
(b) In the 12 months prior to interview.
Source: ABS data available on request, Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, 2006.


The 2009 survey of Children's Participation in Selected Cultural and Leisure Activities (ABS 2009a) was conducted in regard to the activities of 5-14 year olds and showed that girls were more likely to read for pleasure than boys at any age. Overall, 80% of girls read for pleasure during the two-week reference period compared with 65% of boys. Girls also read for longer than boys - the average time spent by girls who read for pleasure during the two-week period was 7.8 hours, compared with 6.4 hours for boys.

1.8 CHILDREN WHO READ FOR PLEASURE(a)(b) - 2009
Graph: 1.8 CHILDREN WHO READ FOR PLEASURE(a)(b)—2009


Research conducted by Starcom for the Australia Council for the Arts, Books Alive 2008 - reader research, looked at the reading habits of 1,200 Australians aged 16 to 65 years, who had read a book for pleasure in the last three years. The study found that almost 7 out of 10 people reported reading books regularly. Of those who read regularly for pleasure, most read magazines (66%), newspapers (61%) or fiction books (58%), while less than half read non-fiction books (41%).

Reading for enjoyment was the main motivation for people, with 83% of readers reporting this as a reason for the activity. General interest was also a popular reason (68%), followed by relaxation and reducing stress (67%) and to improve knowledge (59%).

The main barriers preventing most readers from reading included lack of time (47%) and the cost of new books (40%). For 24% of all readers there were no significant barriers to reading.

Technology has changed the way some people read books. In 2010, the Books Alive program was rebranded Get Reading!. Data from the Get Reading! 2010 Campaign Effectiveness Research showed that 13% of people who had read a book for pleasure in the last three years had downloaded an electronic book (e-book) from the internet in the 12 months prior to survey. These e-books can be read on several types of reading device with 10% of respondents using a mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA) or laptop and 6% using a portable reading device or e-book reader. When asked about their future intentions for adopting reading technologies, 21% said they were likely or very likely to download an e-book from a website, 22% said they were likely or very likely to use an e-book reader and 16% said they were likely or very likely to read an e-book on their mobile phone, PDA, or laptop. More information on the Books Alive and Get Reading! survey can be found at www.australiacouncil.gov.au.

Data from the ABS Time Use and Adult Literacy and Life Skills Surveys should not be compared with data from the Starcom research due to differences in survey methodology, definitions and reference periods.





Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.