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4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2008 (First Edition)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/05/2008   
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Contents >> Reading

READING

In 2006, the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that 61% of people aged over 15 years of age considered reading as a favourite activity, with females more likely (73%) than males (50%) to consider reading a favourite pastime.

Of those surveyed, 77% read newspapers, 58% read magazines and 48% read books at least once a week. People more likely to read frequently were those in the 45-64 years age group and those with university or higher qualifications.

1.7 PERSONS AGED 15 YEARS AND OVER, READING PREFERENCES(a), 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) In the 12 months prior to survey.
Source: ABS, Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, 2006, data available on request.


A survey conducted by ACNielson for the government book promotion, Books Alive, in June 2001, found that 78% of people aged 18 years and over in Australia read for pleasure everyday or on most days of the week. The survey also found that the most popular reading material was newspapers, with 91% of people having read a newspaper for pleasure in the week before interview. This compares with 72% of people who had read books for pleasure and 63% who had read magazines in the same period.

Care must be taken in comparing data from the Time Use and Adult Literacy and Life Skills Surveys with data from the ACNielsen survey due to differences in survey methodology, definitions and reference periods.

The 2006 Children's Participation in Selected Cultural and Leisure Activities survey, conducted by the ABS on the activities of 5-14 year olds, 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 69% 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 7.9 hours, compared with 6.6 hours for boys.

1.8 CHILDREN AGED 5-14 YEARS WHO READ FOR PLEASURE(a) - April 2006
Graph: 1.8 Children aged 5–14 years who read for pleasure(a)—April 2006






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