Monday, October 01, 2007

Mexican-Americans are least likely to read newspapers: If people are going to be good citizens, they need to be well-informed, and reading the daily newspaper is a big help. So which ethnic groups read the paper the most? The General Social Survey asked 24,672 Americans how often do they read the paper, with answers ranging from never (5) to daily (1). I calculated the means for each ethnic groups with at least 100 respondents (unless noted), then I subtracted the estimate from 5 so that the highest numbers reflect the most frequent reading:

Mean newspaper reading score

Poles 3.40
Lithuanians 3.38 (78)
Austrians 3.36
Russians 3.35
Danes 3.35
English/Welsh 3.23
Japanese 3.21
French Canadians 3.2o
Scots 3.17
Finns 3.16
Yugoslavs 3.16
Norwegians 3.16
Czechs 3.19
Swiss 3.18
Swedes 3.11
Dutch 3.11
Germans 3.11
Irish 3.10
Italians 3.10

USA 3.03

Hungarians 3.01
Chinese 3.00
West Indians 2.98
French 2.97
Greeks 2.97
Arabs 2.95 (N=41)
Blacks 2.83
Spain 2.83
Portuguese 2.81 (N=68)
Asian Indians 2.76
American Indians 2.63
Puerto Ricans 2.59
Mexicans 2.41

Eastern and Northern Europeans read the most, while Southern Europeans, Arabs, Asian Indians (I'm surprised) and poor minorities read the least. And like with so many of my lists, Mexicans fall to the very bottom. But hey, white racism cripples their motivation, and who can afford 50 cents these days? (By the way, did the rapper 50 Cent get his name from his love of newspapers?)


  1. Newspaper reading increases with one's age, as far as I know among all ethnic groups. Comparing each group's average age to its newspaper-reading score might help account for the age factor.

  2. Anonymous8:14 AM

    This Hispanic writing these words reads newspapers quite often, and drinks very rarely (regarding your post about drinking). I guess that makes me an odd-man out according to the GSS.
    Then precise culture is from a less common South American Hispanic group, and their sample in the GSS is tiny.
    Or, like the poster above me wrote maybe it really is just age factor.

  3. The General Social Survey asked 24,672 Americans how often do they read the paper, with answers ranging from never (5) to daily (1).

    I think you got this backwards, otherwise the lower scoring Mexicans read more, not less.

  4. kingm: You missed where I wrote that I reversed scores. Yes, high means indicate low reading, but I subtracted the means from 5 in order to make high numbers reflect frequent reading.

  5. In addition to what peter said, the internet has affected things substantially.

    So to complicate things further...

    Id bet more internet savy groups read less and surf more. Its all free online - usually with more viewpoints and less BS. Maybe that means younger groups read less papers, or that richer groups read less :shrugs:

  6. Anon: In an earlier post of mine, I showed that South American Americans are, on average, significantly more educated than Mexican Americans. As a rough rule, the farther the immigrants traveled to get here, the smarter they are.


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