Cost of living crisis starting to bite for Aussie readers

Less money and less time equates to fewer Australians reading, according to new research.
reading. Image is the shoulder arm and hand of a young woman on a beach reading a book on an e-reader

There’s been a lot of concern over Australia’s decline in adult literacy this year, with a new national study being launched to document deterioration in basic reading and writing skills. The fewer numbers of children reading books is also cause for worry. According to a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), children’s participation in reading for pleasure has dropped from 79% in 2017–18 to 72% in 2021–22.

The survey on cultural and creative activities found that of 72% of children who read for pleasure, 32% read for two hours or less per week and only 2% read for 20 hours or more per week.

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Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press (UWAP). Her next collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Twitter: @thuy_on