In fact, readership rates for daily print newspaper have declined almost 20% since 2001, according to trend studies conducted by market research firm Scarborough.
Today, national daily print newspaper readership rates stand at around 37% of adults, down from ~50% just a dozen years ago.
Interestingly however, there are distinct differences in readership rates based on geography.
Readership appears to be highest in the Northeast and Industrial Midwest regions, whereas it’s significantly lower than the national average across the Southeast, Texas and the Pacific Southwest.
Which metropolitan market takes top honors for readership? It’s Pittsburgh, where ~51% of the adult population reads daily print newspapers.
Other high readership rates are found in a cluster of markets within a 250-mile radius of Pittsburgh, it turns out:
- Pittsburgh Metro Area: ~51% of adults read daily print newspapers
- Albany/Schenectady/Troy Metro: ~49%
- Hartford/New Haven Metro: ~49%
- Cleveland Metro: ~48%
- Buffalo/Niagara Fall Metro: ~47%
- New York City Metro: ~47%
- Toledo Metro: ~47%
Only one other metropolitan market charts daily newspaper readership as high: Honolulu, at ~47% adult readership.
At the other end of the scale are various Sunbelt urban markets. Here are the five metropolitan areas that bring up the rear when it comes to the lowest daily newspaper readership rates:
- Atlanta Metro Area: ~23% of adults read daily print newspapers
- Houston/Galveston Metro: ~24%
- San Antonio Metro: ~24%
- Las Vegas Metro: ~26%
- Bakersfield Metro: ~26%
What’s the cause of these geographic discrepancies?
It may be age demographics, which tend to skew younger in these Sunbelt markets.
Perhaps it’s the ethnic composition of the markets – although pretty much all of them on both lists have diverse populations.
So I turn the question over to the readers: If you have any insights (or even simply suspicions) to share, I welcome your comments.