There’s always more to discover with an AARP membership! Check out your member benefits.
by Carole Fleck, AARP Bulletin, March 1, 2010
An era in which Americans read a daily newspaper with their morning coffee, or on the subway on their way to work, is fading. Fewer than three in 10 adults say they read a print newspaper every day, according to a new AARP Bulletin poll on newspaper readership.
Not surprisingly, adults age 50 and older (71 percent) are more likely than their younger counterparts to read a print newspaper. But only 29 percent of all adults age 18 and older pick up a newspaper daily, and 35 percent don’t read a print paper at all, the survey of 1,040 people found.
Daily metropolitan newspapers have been losing circulation for years as increasing numbers of people turn to more immediate sources for their news, such as television and radio, and, more recently, the Internet. More than one-third (34 percent) of people ages 18 to 49 get their news fix online, compared with 16 percent of those age 50 and older.
Among all ages, however, getting the day’s news from television was the clear preference: 52 percent of people ages 18 to 49 and 69 percent of those 50-plus chose TV news as their primary source. Radio was the preferred choice for 22 percent of those age 50-plus and for 20 percent of people younger than 50.
Hal Hershman, 49, has a local newspaper delivered daily to his home. But he says he rarely gets to read it because his wife takes the paper to work with her in the morning. He depends on his car radio for up-to-date news and information.
“I’m frequently in the car going from client to client, so the radio is my primary news source,” says Hershman, a certified public accountant in Richboro, Pa. “I read the newspaper on weekends.”
Like Hershman, 21 percent of people under age 50, and 12 percent of people 50-plus, read a print paper on the weekend only. But daily readership among older people was double (42 percent) that of younger folks (20 percent).
Nearly half of those polled (46 percent) say they read print newspapers as often as they did five years ago; 32 percent say they read newspapers less.
If newspapers weren’t available in print anymore, most people surveyed (80 percent) said they wouldn’t be willing to pay to read a newspaper online.
The decline of the newspaper industry has accelerated in recent years. Within the last year alone, major metropolitan newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Denver’s Rocky Mountain News have folded their print editions under the strain of plummeting readership, a decline in advertising and the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Others, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save $65-$200 on round-trip tickets purchased online.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at