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More Americans Went to the Library Than to the Movies Last Year (Or So They Say)

A recent Gallup poll showed that visiting the local library was the most the most frequent cultural activity Americans engaged in in 2019:

Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far. The average 10.5 trips to the library U.S. adults report taking in 2019 exceeds their participation in eight other common leisure activities. Americans attend live music or theatrical events and visit national or historic parks roughly four times a year on average and visit museums and gambling casinos 2.5 times annually. Trips to amusement or theme parks (1.5) and zoos (.9) are the least common activities among this list.

Here’s the complete list of activities, if you are interested:

  1. Go to a library 10.5 visits (average)
  2. Go to a movie at a movie theater 5.3
  3. Attend a live sporting event 4.7
  4. Attend a live music or theatrical event 3.8
  5. Visit a national or historical park 3.7
  6. Visit a museum 2.5
  7. Visit a gambling casino 2.5
  8. Go to an amusement or theme park 1.5
  9. Visit a zoo 0.9

I have serious doubts about the accuracy of the data. The thing is, I could tell you which of these activities I had not done in the past year, but I could not tell you with any accuracy how many times I had gone to see a movie, visited a library, or gone to a national park. Like most people, I don’t actually log these trips. I would have to guess, and that would mean there’s no way to guarantee the accuracy of the answer.

What do you think?

image by mattcornock via Flickr

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anon January 30, 2020 um 11:24 am

I think it’s enough to conclude "the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in," but I don’t think you can conclude much more than that or take the specific numbers to be accurate.

tired January 31, 2020 um 9:40 am

I believe it because I usually wait a week after a movie releases and the theater is empty or close to empty. They literally show 30 minutes of commercials and trailers now before the movie and many cinemas force you to buy tickets at the concession stands (to push their concessions) resulting in 10 minute + lines. Meanwhile you can wait 2 months and watch it for less in pristine digital at home at a much lower cost with beer and pausing for bathroom breaks on a tv large enough to command the same field of vision as the cinema. Which do you think most people do?

I usually only like going to the cinema if it is with friends or to discuss a movie with friends that they’ve just seen.

Khan February 2, 2020 um 4:04 am

To love books and libraries is a big aspect of a nation’s mental growth and a country’s development. I really appreciate the people who go to libraries more than to the cinemas.

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