[Ed. – Who knew? Are they paying study subjects? That’s what I want to know. As of this posting, the number of unread emails in my main queue is 232.]
As emails have become nearly ubiquitous in the world of work, researchers are paying increasingly close attention to how emails affect our lives. One study showed that 70% of professional emails are read within six seconds of their arrival. Reading emails disrupts working patterns, but many people try to make sure that all emails they receive are marked as ‘read’, to avoid a slowly increasing pile of communications that need to be addressed.
The latest research from YouGov shows that among Americans who email the vast majority (79%) try to keep on top of their unread e-mails with only 18% of Americans admitting that they don’t try to keep the number of unread emails as close to zero as possible.
Respondents were asked to say how many unread emails they had in their inbox at the time they answered the survey. The average adult American has 500 unread emails, though the ‘median’ (meaning that half of Americans have more unread e-mails while half have fewer) is only 5.
22% of people say that they have no unread emails in their inbox currently, while 26% have less than ten unread emails. 27% have between 10 and 49, while 19% have between 50 and 999 unread e-mails. Only 6% say that their unread email total tops 1,000. There is little difference between different groups when it comes to how many unread emails they have, though men (22%) are somewhat more likely than women (15%) to have no unread emails. Also, 29% of people with incomes over $80,000 a year report having no unread emails. [Yeah, well, la-dee-da for them. – Ed.]