A national survey conducted by the Statistical Center of Iran involving 40,000 people aged 15 and older shows that in 2018, nearly half of the country’s adult population saw no movies, more than half saw no plays, roughly a quarter listened to no music and another 22 million read only textbooks.
The study showed that most Iranians do not go to the movies or the theater at all. Less than 5 percent of the population has been to the theater once in their life.
According to the report, Iranians spend an average of four hours a month reading novels and works of non-fiction, and about three hours studying religious books, including the Koran, which explains residents of the holy cities of Qom and Mashhad scoring higher than the rest of the country. Residents of Qom reportedly read 20 hours a month, nearly three times the national average. People in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi read close to 11 hours a month, followed closely by residents of Yazd and Ilam.
The study shows that 58 percent of the educated Iranians read other publications besides textbooks. However, close to 23 million people read no publications at all, be they books or online newspapers. More than half of those surveyed spend an hour a day on social media. The study has also found that university graduates spend about an hour a day reading online newspapers.
People aged 15 and older, on the other hand, watch close to five hours of TV every day.
Half of the population of Iran is aged under 30. Unemployment, the high cost of living, and double-digit inflation have forced many into poverty. Iranians face plenty of economic pressures with no relief in sight. Cultural and recreational activities including movies, the theater, and art exhibitions are the furthest things from most people’s minds. Most people spend their free time on the internet and social media instead of reading books or engaging in cultural activities.
Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi