Sabato 23 Gennaio 2021 | 06:45

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Rome

Less than half of Italians read a book in 2015

Rate of 42%, up from 41.4% the year before

Less than half of Italians read a book in 2015

Rome, January 14 - Some 58% of Italians have not read a single book in the past year. According to the latest figures from national statistics institute ISTAT, 42% of Italians over the age of 6 (about 24 million) read at least one book in 2015 that was not assigned by a school or for professional purposes. The figure had been 41.4% in 2014, and thus some 412,000 more citizens read a book over the course of the year. The downward trend seen since 2012 seems to have been halted. The ISTAT overview of reading habits in Italy in 2015 was part of the 'Aspects of Daily Life' representative survey, which showed that the age group that reads the most is between the ages of 15 and 17, in which readers increased from 51.1% in 2014 to 53.9% in 2015. Some 13.7% read at least one book per month, compared with 14.3% in 2014, while 45.5% read fewer than 3 books in the past year. Some 4.687 million people read or downloaded books online or e-books: 8.2% of the overall population and 14.1% of those who have used the internet in the past three months. Online reading and the download of books and e-books is done mostly by the young, with 22.4% of those between 18 and 19 who use the internet. The differences between men and women remained the same, with 48.6% of women having read at least one book over the year and only 35% of men. Reading is the most popular among those between the ages of 15 and 24, over 60% of whom read at least one including some 66.1% of those between 15 and 17. Females make up a greater portion of those reading ones online (15.2% of women using the internet) than men (13.2%), with a peak between the ages of 18 and 19 (27.8%). Schooling is not enough to inculcate reading habits, according to the report: family habits are crucial. Books are read by an estimated 66.8% of children between the ages of 6 and 14 when both parents are readers and only 30.9% when their parents do not read books. Almost one in every ten families (9.1%, equal to about 2.3 million families) say that they do not have even a single book in their homes. The percentage is significantly high in the Apulia (18.2%), Calabria (16.3%) and Basilicata(16.1%) regions. About 6% of those without books at home but who have used the internet in the past three months have read books or e-books online or downloaded them. The southern regions are much less likely to read. Over 48% of residents in northern Italy read at least one book over the past year, compared with 28.8% in the south and 33.1% on the islands. The region with the highest number of readers is the northwest, with 49.6%. Metropolitan centers also have higher reading rates, at 51% compared with 35.5% in municipalities with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants - a further drop on the previous year (37.2% in 2014). The gap between areas have, however, been reduced due to online reading and the downloading of books: 16.4% in the north-west engage in the activity, while 11.9% do in southern Italy. Some 16.9% of inhabitants of metropolitan areas and 13.9% of those in small towns of between 2,001 and 10,000 inhabitants do as well. Italian households spent 3.339 billion euros on books in 2014 and 5.278 billion on newspapers and stationery: 11 and 18 euros per month, respectively, or 0.4% and 0.6% of their overall spending. Between 2010 and 2014, household spending on books, newspapers and magazines dropped by 18%, that on stationery by 31%. The reduction was much higher than that for goods in general (6%).

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