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New Survey Shows How Americans’ Reading Habits Changed from Childhood

A new survey from YouGov asked U.S. Americans about their reading habits as kids and as adults. While 89% overall reported reading books in childhood, that number drops in younger populations: 95% of respondents 65 and up said yes, while only 79% of those under 30 did.

When asked which genres they read as children, the most popular one named was mysteries and thrillers: 40% said they read this genre, and 10% said it was the one they read most often as kids. Since most of the people who responded to this survey are 45 and up, this may be related to the popularity of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, along with similar series, in previous decades.

This trend continues with respondents’ current reading habits: mystery and crime is also the most popular genre they read now, followed by history, biographies and memoir, and religion and spirituality. Men were more likely to report reading nonfiction like history, and women were more likely to say they read mystery novels. There was no information provided on nonbinary people.

Other popular genres read as children include short stories, history, fantasy, and science fiction. This survey also incorrectly includes “Young Adult” as a genre, though it’s an age category that includes every genre. Women were more likely to report reading mostly YA as children.

You can read the full survey results, including graphs, at YouGov.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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