Record plunge: Newspaper circ at pre-WWII low
Following an average drop of 10.6% in the last 12 months, daily newspaper circulation has fallen to a pre-World War II low of an estimated 39.1 million, according to an analysis of industry data released today.
The first double-digit circulation decline in history means only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper. The analysis is based on data provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry-funded group.
Newspaper circulation now is lower than the 41.1 million papers sold in 1940, the earliest date for which records are published by the Newspaper Association of America. Back in 1940, newspapers were purchased by 31.1% of the population.
Sunday circulation, which fell an average of 7.5% in the last six months to an estimated 40.9 million copies per week, is at the lowest point since 1945 when it was 39.9 million.
At that rate, Sunday papers in the last six months reached only 13.5% of Americans, as compared with 28.5% in 1945, when the population was less than half the size it is today.
My circulation estimates are calculated on the entire universe of some 1,400 dailies in the United States. In announcing the most recent circulation decline, ABC put daily readership at 30.4 million for the 379 newspapers in its sample, which reflects most of the biggest papers. But a lot of smaller properties are not counted in the ABC figure.