“People have debated for some time what is the average age of a daily newspaper reader in the U.S. Eric Alterman said it’s 55 in a 2008 piece in The New Yorker, and the consensus is in that range. Now Alan Mutter has run some Pew Research numbers and looks at the number another way.
According to Pew, less than 10% of people under the age of 30 reported that they had read a newspaper the previous day. In comparison, nearly 50% of adults over 65 had done so. Seventy-four percent of U.S. newspaper readership is concentrated in people over the age of 45, while that age demographic group represents only 39% of the population. And that group is getting older and dying while the under-45s are not.
What do all the numbers mean? “The industry is failing to replace older readers with younger individuals,” Mutter writes. “At some point, the newspaper audience may contract so severely that (a) publishers cannot attract enough advertisers, (b) publishers no longer enjoy the economies of scale necessary to print profitably or (c) both of the above.””
Newspaper audience aged severely since 2010
The good news is that libraries keep their demographic profile staying more mixed, and strategically healthy.