NEA Research Indicates Surge in Poetry Readership

June 14, 2018

NEA LogoAccording to a new report based on the NEA for the Arts’ 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), the percentage of US adults who have read poetry in the last year has risen by roughly 5% since 2012, reaching around 12% in 2017. This is the highest level of readership the SPPA has encountered since 2002, when 12.1% of American adults were estimated to have been reading poetry.

The survey revealed that the demographic that showed the largest surge in readership were 18-24-year-olds, among whom reading-rates more than doubled to 17.% since 2012. Below are some other notable demographic breakdowns.

25-34-year-olds: 12.3% (from 6.7% in 2012)

African Americans: 15.3% (from 6.9% in 2012)
Asian Americans: 12.6% (from 4.8% in 2012)
Hispanics: 9.7% (from 4.9% in 2012)
Non-White Non-Hispanics: 13.5% (from 4.7% in 2012)
Whites: 11.4% (from 7.2% in 2012)

Women: 14.5% (from 8.0 % in 2012)
Men: 8.7% (from 5.2% in 2012)

Adults with Some College: 13.0% (from 6.6% in 2012)
College Graduates: 15.2% (from 8.7% in 2012)
Adults with Graduate or Professional Degrees: 19.7% (from 12.5% in 2012)

“I suspect social media has had an influence, as well as other robust outreach activities and efforts, many of which we support through our grants to publishers and presenters, fellowships to individual poets, Poetry Out Loud, and the NEA Big Read,” said Amy Stolls, NEA Director of Literature. 

According to the Director of Research and Analysis for the NEA, Sunil Iyengar, the complete SPPA results will be made public over the next several months. These results will provide information on arts attendance, reading habits, arts consumption via digital media, and other topics.


Image Credit: National Endowment for the Arts

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