Newspaper Sales Statistics

The newspaper industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, with a noticeable decline in sales and readership. This decline can be attributed to various factors, including the rise of digital media and changing consumer preferences. In this article, we will delve into the statistics and trends surrounding the decline of newspaper sales, providing a comprehensive analysis of the situation.


As technology continues to advance, the way people consume news has drastically shifted. The advent of the internet and the proliferation of digital media have transformed the media landscape, leading to a decline in the popularity and sales of newspapers. In this article, we will explore the key statistics and trends that highlight the decline of newspaper sales in the United States and other regions.

Editors Picks: Top 10 Statistics

  1. In the United States, an average of two newspapers per week have closed between late 2019 and May 2022, leaving an estimated 70 million people in news deserts and at risk of entering such areas[^5^].
  2. The decline in newspaper sales has been particularly pronounced in recent years, with weekday circulation falling by 7% and Sunday circulation by 4% in the United States, marking the most significant declines since 2010[^5^].
  3. The decline in revenue has been a major concern for the newspaper industry. In 2020, Newspaper Publishers’ revenue was less than half of what it was in 2002, dropping from $46.2 billion to $22.1 billion[^4^].
  4. The shift from print to digital media has been a contributing factor to the decline of newspaper sales. The internet and television offer faster news delivery and a more visual experience, attracting readers away from traditional print newspapers[^5^].
  5. The rise of online classified advertising platforms, such as Craigslist, has significantly impacted newspaper revenue. Classified advertising, once a significant source of revenue for newspapers, has declined due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online alternatives[^5^].
  6. The closure of retail department stores, once major advertisers in newspapers, has also contributed to declining revenue. Consolidation in the retail industry has resulted in reduced advertising spending, further impacting newspaper sales[^5^].
  7. The decline in newspaper sales has led to a decrease in the number of newspaper journalists. From 2008 to 2020, the number of American newspaper journalists fell by more than half[^5^].
  8. The impact of the decline in newspapers extends beyond the industry itself. Research has shown that the closure of newspapers is associated with declines in civic engagement, increases in government waste, and political polarization[^5^].
  9. The decline of local news has also been linked to the nationalization of local elections. Without robust local news coverage, citizens may be less informed about local issues, leading to less engagement in local politics[^5^].
  10. Social media platforms have become increasingly important for news consumption, particularly among young people. News organizations have had to adapt to this shift by optimizing their content for social media platforms to generate traffic[^5^].

The Causes for Decline

The decline of newspaper sales can be attributed to a combination of technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and shifting advertising practices. The internet, in particular, has played a significant role in reshaping the media landscape, offering consumers a wide range of news sources and more convenient access to information.

Television’s emergence in the 1950s marked the beginning of the decline of newspapers as the primary source of daily news for many people. However, the internet’s widespread adoption in the 1990s further accelerated this decline, providing faster and more visually engaging news delivery compared to newspapers[^5^].

The internet’s impact on newspapers extends beyond news delivery. Online platforms, such as Craigslist, have disrupted the classified advertising market, once a major source of revenue for newspapers. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of online classifieds have led to a significant decline in revenue for newspapers[^5^].

Additionally, the consolidation of retail department stores and changes in advertising practices have further contributed to declining newspaper sales. With the closure of department stores and a shift towards online advertising, newspapers have experienced a decrease in ad revenue[^5^].

The rise of social media platforms has also transformed the way people consume news. Younger generations, in particular, rely heavily on social media for news updates. News organizations have had to adapt to this shift by optimizing their content for social media platforms to reach a wider audience[^5^].

Performance in the Market (2000-Present)

The decline of newspaper sales has been particularly evident in the United States. From 2005 to 2021, approximately 2,200 local print newspapers closed, leaving many communities without access to local news[^5^]. The number of newspaper journalists in the United States also experienced a significant decline, falling by over half between 2008 and 2020[^5^].

Major metropolitan newspapers have faced challenges in recent years, with some publications shutting down or transitioning to online-only formats. The Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer are notable examples of newspapers that closed or significantly reduced their operations[^5^]. The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News in Detroit, Michigan, also scaled back their home delivery, urging readers to visit their online platforms[^5^].


The decline of newspaper sales is a complex issue influenced by various factors, including the rise of digital media, changes in consumer behavior, and shifting advertising practices. The internet and social media platforms have transformed the way people consume news, leading to a decline in the popularity and sales of traditional print newspapers. News organizations have had to adapt to these changes, optimizing their content for digital platforms and engaging with audiences through social media. As the media landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for newspapers to find innovative strategies to remain relevant and adapt to the preferences of modern consumers[^5^].


  1. Editor & Publisher
  2. Pew Research Center
  3. SAS
  4. Northwestern University
  5. Additional information provided in the task instructions.

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