In a Happy Surprise, Americans Apparently Visit Libraries More than Movie Theaters

published Jan 28, 2020
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There’s no doubt that generations are distinct from one another, dictated by trends both in and out of their control (hello, financial crisis of 2007). However, one thing that has been fairly consistent is that technology keeps advancing, and newer generations are being tempted by screens more than ever before. But this one statistic gives us hope for the humble book: more people are visiting the library than going to the movies. 

A recent study conducted by Gallup explored the most common cultural activity Americans engaged in, polling people of different sexes, age groups, and household incomes in order to get a diverse pool of responses. Each category shows an average of how many people did that particular activity in 2019, and going to a library came in at 10.5 visits—almost double the amount pollers go to the movies. 

While it isn’t definite, the study suggests a few possible reasons that libraries came in first by a landslide. The majority of people going to libraries over any other activities were U.S. adults aged 18-29, which could potentially be college-going adults that are walking in for studying purposes. 

It was also discovered that while every income group (less than $40K; $40-99K; $100K+) had going to the library as their highest average, households with less than $40K income we’re going to the library the most, clocking in at 12.2 visits a year on average. “Conversely, the library—which is free and offers a variety of services including WiFi—is visited most by adults in low-income households and least by adults in high-income households,” the study reports. 

There are plenty of other statistics found within the study, but here’s the breakdown of all activities based on average attendance:

Go to a library: 10.5
Go to a movie at a movie theater: 5.3
Attend a live sporting event: 4.7
Attend a live music or theatrical event: 3.8
Visit a national or historical park: 3.7
Visit a museum: 2.5
Visit a gambling casino: 2.5
Go to an amusement or theme park: 1.5
Visit a zoo: 0.9

As important local institutions, it’s great to see that people utilize the library and its services. See you in the stacks!