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ERIC Number: ED503915
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reports that for the first time in over a quarter-century, literary reading has risen among adult Americans, with measurable increases among all groups represented in this comprehensive national survey. Combined with general population growth, higher reading rates have expanded literary readership by 16.6 million, with the most significant growth among young adults, the group that had shown the largest declines in earlier surveys. Reported findings include: (1) Literary reading is on the rise for the first time in the 26 years of the NEA's periodic survey of U.S. adult participation in the arts; (2) The absolute number of literary readers has grown significantly; (3) The new growth in readership reverses two decades of downward trends; (4) Literary reading has increased most rapidly among the youngest adults; (5) Adults in most age groups have shown gains in literary reading; (6) Literary reading has risen among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics; (7) For the first time in the survey's history, literary reading has increased among both men and women; (8) Literary reading rates have grown or held steady for adults of all education levels; (9) Greater reading of fiction is responsible for the new growth in adult literary readers; (10) Book-readers have grown in absolute numbers but declined slightly as a percentage of the U.S. adult population; (11) Most online readers also report reading books; and (12) The U.S. adult population now breaks into two almost equally sized groups--readers and non-readers. Findings come from the NEA 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts in partnership with the United States Census Bureau. The sample is both large (more than 18,000 adults) and representative of the current U.S. population. The survey has been conducted at five intervals since 1982. The core questionnaire has remained consistent, ensuring that reliable comparisons can be made for the purpose of long-term trend analyses. The survey is designed to give a national overview of adult arts participation in the 12 months preceding the survey date. (Contains 9 notes.)
National Endowment for the Arts. 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20506. Tel: 202-682-5400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Endowment for the Arts
Identifiers - Location: United States