MORE than 84pc of Irish adults still regularly read newspapers, giving Ireland one of the highest newspaper readerships in the world, new figures released yesterday revealed.
The data, from the Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS), shows that 2.96 million Irish adults over the age of 15 regularly read either a daily or a Sunday newspaper.
The figure is down marginally on the 3.08 million regular readers in 2009 and the 3.05 million in 2008, but is still regarded as a good result by industry watchers.
"Considering the economic climate, the fact that readership has declined by less than 3pc in the past two years is a remarkable demonstration of the loyalty that Irish people have to their newspapers," said Frank Cullen, of industry group National Newspapers of Ireland.
The latest data also show that newspapers are faring significantly better in Ireland than in other developed economies. In Ireland, some 50pc of adults regularly read a daily paper, against average daily reach of 39.8pc in the UK and 40.9pc in the US.
Ireland's out-performance is more pronounced in the Sunday market, where 70pc of Irish adults regularly read a paper, against average Sunday reach of 42pc in the UK adults and 46pc in the US.
Figures for individual papers show the Irish Independent remains Ireland's most read daily title, with 539,000 readers a day, down 7.2pc year-on-year.
The 'Irish Times' is the second best read daily, with 339,000 readers (down 8.1pc), followed by the 'Irish Examiner' on 175,000 (down 15.8pc).
In the Sunday market, the 'Sunday Independent' is still the leader with 1.006 million readers (down 2pc), followed by the 'Sunday World' on 821,000, which picked up 9,000 extra readers last year.
Magazines published with newspapers are also faring strongly, with the Irish Independent's 'Weekend' magazine leading the pack with an average of 599,000 (down 1pc).
The Irish Independent's 'Health & Living' magazine added 31,000 readers over the year and now has a weekly flock of 476,000, while the title's 'Day & Night' picked up 23,000 readers and now stands at 365,000.
The 'Sunday Independent's 'Life' magazine remains the most popular newspaper magazine with an average of 705,000 readers (down 1pc), while the 'Sunday World's magazine added 1,000 readers and now reaches 566,000 adults every week.