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How we spend our time

There’s a new map floating around the web based on a survey several years ago on the average number of hours spent reading each week in 30 countries. It probably won’t shock a lot of people to learn that the U.S. is in the fourth of five tiers on the map.

According to something called the NOP World Culture Score, the U.S. finished 21st, reading an average of 5.7 hours per week. That compares to a global average of 6.5 hours a week. India topped the list with an average of 10.7 hours a week, followed by Thailand and China with 9.4 and 8 hours respectively). Asia also brought up the rear, with Korea at 3.1, Japan at 4.1 and Taiwan at 5.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have guessed Americans spent that much time reading every week. The survey also looked at consumption of other media and I wasn’t surprised to see that the U.S. ranked sixth in time spent watching television each week with an average of 19 hours. Interestingly, although Thailand was second in hours spent reading, it was tops in hours spent watching television at 20.4. The global average was 16.7 hours.

Perhaps most surprising to me was that the U.S. ranked 19th in the number of hours of non-work computer and internet usage. Our 8.8 hours were just slightly off the global average of 8.9 hours. Taiwan was tops at 12.6 hours while Thailand again was second at 11.7 hours, Again, though, the survey results are several years old and do not reflect where everyone stands today.

I am very curious about one thing, though. When you include the time listening to radio that the survey also scored, Thais spent nearly 57 hours a week consuming media.


We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking.

Ray Bradbury, 2003

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