Well, despite surveys south of the border and over the pond that seem to show declining interest in intellectual activity, Canada once again bucks the trend in a study that shows that more of us would rather read a book than see a movie. A nation of polite nerds. Hear us roar!
Canadians are more likely to read a book than attend a movie, and they’re visiting art galleries and historic sites more. At least that’s what appears to have been the case two years ago, according to an analysis released yesterday of a “social survey” of 10,000 Canadians completed by Statistics Canada in 2005.
The analysis by Hill Strategies Research Inc. of Hamilton found that, in 2005, 17.4 million Canadians 15 years of age and older — or 66.6 per cent of that total population group — read at least one book in the course of 12 months. In fact, about four in 10 Canadians read at least one book a month in 2005. By contrast, in that same period, 15.9 million Canadians (61 per cent) went out to see at least one movie in a theatre or at the drive-in.
The level of book reading has remained stable relative to previous surveys of Canadian cultural activities done in 1992 and 1998, but there has been a decline in newspaper readership. In 1992, 93.2 per cent of Canadians said they read at least one newspaper that year; six years later, that figure was 88.7 per cent, and in 2005, 86.7 per cent. However, while the rate of newspaper reading declined, the number of readers has increased, thanks to a 22.6-per-cent hike in the overall number of Canadians aged 15 and up.
As a result, newspaper readers increased to 22.6 million in 2005 from 19.9 million in 1992.
In reality, I have a hard time believing these stats. My generalized anecdotal evidence is so much more powerful to me than a bunch of numbers. I still say we’re headed to hell in a handbasket slung over Stephen Harper’s forearm.