My husband’s dream vacation is in Estonia. I kid you not. He loves Estonia for its visionary e-democracy, Why e-democracy would make Estonia a great place for a vacation eludes me, but I understand that for a political scientist like my husband, the country deserves respect.
Now, though, I may have to give Estonia some respect of my own. It turns out that Estonia tops the list of European countries that read the most.
World Book Day Statistics
I learned this intriguing fact about Estonia from new statistics released by Eurostat last spring for World Book Day. The chart above shows the fascinating numbers, gleaned from a survey conducted between 2008 and 2014 on people from aged 20-74 in 15 European Union countries.
Estonians read the most, an average of 13 minutes per day. The French read the least, at just 2 minutes. But whatever country you pick, most EU residents spend more time reading than they do vacationing in the course of a year.
What are They Reading?
According to the survey, women also typically spend more time reading books than men, no matter which country they lived in. However, the men who did read did so longer than their their female counterparts.
As to what precisely is being read, who knows–though it does seem to be books of some sort. If I do end up taking that vacation to Estonia, I’ll report back with more details.
Whatever the Estonians and other Europeans are reading, they are spending a fair share of their income on it. A post published by the World Economic Forum reported that EU households in the EU spent over €90 billion ($107 billion) or 1.1% of their total annual expenditures on books, newspapers and stationery, an amount equal to 0.6% of the EU’s GDP, or about €200 ($240) per citizen.
Who spent the most? The Slovakians.
Of course, it is possible that most of this money is going to “stationery” or newspapers rather than books. Plus, according to Eurostat, that spending was under half of that spent for recreational and cultural services. Still, it is oddly comforting to learn that Europeans are putting sizable portions of their income into the printed word.
I can’t say any of this is enough to make me want to vacation in Estonia. My dream reading (and vacation) is still on a beach in the South Seas–where I dream of spending far more than 13 minutes a day with my nose in a book.