Monday, May 22, 2023

Half of Adults Have Listened to a Podcast in the Past Year

Roughly half (49% share) of adults in the US report having listened to a podcast in the past 12 months, according to survey results from the Pew Research Center, with entertainment and education the primary reasons for tuning in. The podcast audience isn’t uniformly distributed across demographic groups, however, with some more apt to tune in than others.

Overall, men (51%) are slightly more likely than women (46%) to have listened to a podcast in the year prior to the survey, despite growing popularity of podcast listening among females.

Not surprisingly, this emerging medium is more popular among younger than older adults. About two-thirds (67%) of 18-29-year-olds have listened to a podcast in the past year, compared to 58% of 30-49-year-olds, 42% of those ages 50-64, and 28% of adults ages 65 and older. Recent research has found that podcast engagement has been growing among the middle-aged over the past couple of years.

There’s also a large gap in podcast listening when sorting by education and household income. For example, while 62% of those with a college degree or more have listened to a podcast in the past year, only 37% of those with a high school education or less have done so. And while 59% of those with income of at least $80K have tuned in, fewer (44%) of those with less than $30K in income have listened. These trends are supported by prior studies showing that adults with higher education and income levels over-index in podcast listening.

In terms of race/ethnicity, Hispanic adults (54%) show an above-average inclination to listen to podcasts, as do English-speaking Asian adults (52%). By comparison, Black (46%) and White (47%) adults under-index, with the findings related to Black adults in line with research from MarketingCharts in the latest annual Media Audience Demographics report.

Among podcast listeners, one-fifth report listening every day, with this figure higher among men (23%), 18-29-year-olds (23%) and those with the highest education (24%) and income (23%) levels. Notably, White listeners (23%) are more apt to be heavily engaged than Black (15%) or Hispanic (17%) listeners.

While these patterns generally also apply to the number of podcasts that listeners tune in to (with the above groups likely to listen to the most), it’s also true that 24% of podcast listeners ages 30-49 report currently listening to 4 or more podcasts. That’s the highest level of any age group, and above the 19% average among all listeners.

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