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Literary Decline

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Fewer adult Americans, particularly 18- to 24-year-olds, are reading books-either classic literature or popular fiction-for enjoyment, according to a report by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 2002 survey asked the nationally representative sample of 17,000 adults if they had read any novels, short stories, plays, or poetry in their leisure time during the previous year. More than half, or nearly 90 million people, responded no, a 10 percent increase since 1982, when the survey was first conducted. The proportion of adults who read popular-fiction books also declined during that time, from 61 percent in 1982 to 57 percent in 2002.

Vol. 23, Issue 44

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