Median Age of Magazine Readers Rises
Overall, between spring 2001 and spring 2009, the median age of readers for the 90 leading publications increased an average of 3.1 years, versus an average increase of 2.1 years for the population at large.
The same trend was apparent when magazines were sorted into the categories of women's magazines, men's magazines and general interest. Among the 41 magazines that mostly target women, the median age of female readers increased an average of 3 years, versus 2.3 years for the female population in general. Among the 25 magazines that mostly target men, the median age of male readers increased an average of 3.5 years, versus 2 years for the male population in general. And among the 24 general interest titles, the median age of readers increased an average of 2.5 years, versus 2.1 years for the population at large.
Among the 64 magazines that saw the median age of readers increase at a faster pace than the population at large, 29 titles targeting women saw the median age of female readers increase an average 4.3 years, while 20 titles targeting men increased 4.1 years, and 15 general interest titles increased 3.8 years. The total circulation of the 29 women's magazines considered here decreased from 55.2 million to 54.6 million, a drop of about 1%, as the total circulation of the men's titles dropped from 26.1 million to 24.6 million -- a 6% decline. The 15 general interest titles under consideration saw their total circulation decrease from 32.1 million to 26.4 million, a drop of about 18%.
Some titles showed significantly bigger increases in the median age of their core readership from 2001-2009. Women's titles with big increases include Harper's Bazaar, (up 6.9 years), Martha Stewart Living (6.4 years), Country Living (6 years), Ladies' Home Journal (5.8 years), House Beautiful (5.7 years), Gourmet (5.7 years), Entertainment Weekly (5.4 years), Bon Appetit (5 years) and Health (5 years). The median age of female readers also increased between 4 and 4.9 years at Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, In Style, Modern Bride, Redbook, Soap Opera Digest and Woman's Day.
A number of titles that target men saw significant increases in the median age of their male readership. Among these were Automobile (up 7 years), Hot Rod (7 years), Road & Track (5 years), Field & Stream (5 years), Spin (4.9 years), Motor Trend (4.6 years), and Outdoor Life (4.6 years).
Finally, the median age of readers also increased at some big general interest titles, like Kiplinger's Personal Finance (up 5.9 years), U.S. News & World Report (5.7 years), This Old House (5.2 years), Architectural Digest (4.8 years), Smart Money (4.8 years), and Reader's Digest (4.5 years). Newsweeklies Time and Newsweek increased 3.2 years and 2.6 years, respectively.
Of the remaining 26 titles, eight saw the median age of their core readership decrease from 2001-2009. This group includes Cosmopolitan, where the median age of female readers fell from 32 years to 30.3; People, where the median age of female readers inched down from 40.5 to 40.3; Popular Science, where the median age of adult readers overall slipped from 43.3 to 43; Runner's World, where the median age of adult readers overall fell from 36.9 to 35.6; Scholastic Parent & Child, where the median age of female readers fell from 34.7 to 34; Seventeen, where the median age of female readers fell from 28 to 25.9; Skiing , where the median age of adult readers overall swooped from 38.6 to 33.7; and Star, where the median age of female readers plunged from 41.1 to 36.5.