If you are a podcaster or are looking to start a podcast, you must understand the industry trends. They will help you establish if podcast production is a worthwhile business venture and make key decisions for your podcast. For instance, this information helps you when narrowing down your niche, choosing distribution and marketing channels, and determining your target podcast listenership, among others. In this article, we look at podcast statistics in 2021 as per findings by Infinite Dial, Nielsen, The MIDAS, and Statista to help us get some podcast insights into 2022 and plan accordingly.

Podcast Audience

Awareness and Listenership

According to the Infinite Dial 2021 podcast statistics:

  • 78% of Americans, totaling 222 million people, are aware of podcasts.
  • 57% of Americans (162 million) listen to podcasts.
  • There has been a significant increase in the awareness and listenership of Podcasts in the last decade.
  • In 2011, only 25% of the American population was aware of Podcasts and 14% of the population listened to podcasts.
  • 28% or about 80 million Americans aged 12 years and above listen to at least one podcast each week.
  • On average, podcast listeners listen to 8 podcasts every week.
  • 11% are weekly podcast listeners.
  • 15% listen to two podcasts weekly.
  • 14% listen to three podcasts weekly.
  • 21% listen to four or five podcasts weekly.
  • 19% listen to six to ten podcasts weekly.
  • 19% listen to 11 or more podcasts weekly.
  • A MIDAS survey indicates that 65% of podcast users listen to the entire episode.
  • Also, 68% of people listen to every podcast episode they download.


  • 48% of podcast users in the USA are men, 49% are women, and 2% are non-binary and others.
  • 50% of Podcast listeners are aged 12-34 years (about 58 million), 29% are aged 35-54 years (about 34 million), and 21% are aged 55 years and above (about 24 years).
  • While persons aged 55 and above account for the smallest percentage of podcast listeners, there has been a growing interest in podcasts in the age group. The number of podcast listeners aged 55+ increased to 21 % in 2021 compared to 14% in 2011 and 17% in 2017.
  • The number of listeners aged 12-34 has increased slightly between 2011 and 2021 (46% to 50%).
  • The percentage of monthly podcast listeners for the 35-54 age group has decreased significantly, with a decline from 40% in 2011 to 29% in 2021.


The infinite Dial 2021 podcasting report indicates that:

  • 57% of the listeners are white,13% are African American, 16% are Hispanic, 4% are Asian, and 10% are other groups.
  • The population of white listeners has decreased over the years from 68% in 2011, to 63% in 2016, and 57% in 2021.
  • On the other hand, the number of Hispanic listeners has been growing steadily from 11% in 2011 to 16% in 2021

The Nielsen report indicates that the most consumed category of content varies for different ethnicity as follows:

  • Kids and family podcasts rank highest for Hispanic listeners, followed by technology, music, arts, and leisure.
  • White listeners mostly listen to history, science, society & culture, news, and true crime podcasts.
  • The black audience prefers music, health & fitness, religion, kids & family, and government podcasts.
  • Asians listen to technology, science, business, news, and society and culture podcasts

Podcast Statistics on Podcast Listener Behavior

According to the 2021 Nielsen report, podcast listeners are broadly categorized as heavy or light listeners.

  • Heavy listeners delve deep into the podcast scene and primarily rely on podcasts to find information on certain subjects. 
  • They have specific podcasts they listen to and are less likely to look to outside sources to discover new podcasts.
  • They mostly listen to podcasts out of home, including at work, on their commute, at the gym, while running errands, etc.
  • The top podcast categories for heavy listeners are history, news, true crime, society & culture, and science.
  • On the other hand, the top podcast categories for light listeners are music, arts, health & fitness, education, kids & family.

On the other hand:

  • Light listeners mostly discover podcasts of interest through various podcast marketing channels. For example, social media, guest appearances, influencer marketing, etc.
  • They are also eager to explore different podcasts as they figure out which ones they like.
  • They mostly listen from home.

The Nielsen report also notes that podcast listener preference varies among different age groups and gender.

  • The top categories for men aged 25-45 are news, comedy, sports, business, society & culture, history, science, technology, education, and true crime respectively.
  • Top podcast categories for women aged 25-45 are comedy, true crime, society & culture, news, education, health & fitness, arts, kids & family, music, and business.
  • Comedy, followed by news, is the most popular podcast category for listeners aged 18-54.
  • While news podcasts, followed by comedy, are most popular among listeners aged over 55.

Listening Times and Media

  • According to Infinite Dial, 28% of people use podcasts as audio entertainment in their cars.
  • The MIDAS survey indicates that podcast listening peaks in the morning between 8.15 and 8.30 am.
  • Other popular times are 11.00 to 11.15 am and 5.30 pm.
  • Most people complete a third of their podcast listening time while traveling or driving. Other people listen when doing house chores, relaxing, studying, or relaxing.
  • 79% of people listen to podcasts on their mobile devices.
  • 15% listen on their laptops while 6% listen on their tablets.
  • 2% listen on activated speakers. Notably, the increase in ownership of smart speakers may increase podcast listening over these devices by up to 20% in the next year or so.

Number of Podcasts

  • There are over 2 million podcasts compared to 500,000 podcasts three years ago.
  • There are over 48 million podcast episodes since April 2021.

Podcast Statistics on Podcast Ad Spend

According to Nielsen reports, podcasts are becoming a go-to option as brands look for more ways to broaden their reach and appeal. Podcast fans are the most desirable audience in the entire media landscape. They are highly targeted, engaged, and have a high household income.

  • The Median income of light podcast listeners is $80,000, while that of heavy podcast listeners is $88,600.
  • The growing podcast audience base consists of over 22 million light listeners and approximately 14 million heavy listeners.

As such, they take action as per podcast advertisement as long as the product or service advertised resonates with the podcast consumer. Besides, if the listeners trust the podcast host, they are inclined to take them up on their recommendation.

  • 37% of light users and 62% of heavy users visit the sponsor’s website for more information about the advertised product.
  • 17% of light users and 40% of heavy users visit the sponsor’s website to purchase or order the advertised product.
  • 7% of light users and 10% of heavy users visit the sponsor’s retail location for more information about the advertised product.
  • 6% of the light users and 10% of the heavy users purchase the sponsor’s retail location.
  • 3% of light users and 4% of heavy users reach out to the sponsor through the contact information provided in the advertisement.

There is a distinct variation in median income of the audience according to the various categories as follows:

  • Technology – $95,852
  • Sports – $94,251
  • News – $92,366
  • Society & Culture – $92, 127
  • Business – $91,699
  • History – $91,645
  • Science – $89,066
  • Government: $84,686
  • True Crime – $83, 245
  • Health & Fitness – $82,530
  • Education – $82,341
  • TV & Film – $77,364
  • Religion & Spirituality – $76,558
  • Leisure – $74, 586
  • Comedy – $73, 831
  • Arts – $70,995
  • Fiction – $67,416
  • Music – $64,740
  • Kids & Family -$60,981

The IAB forecasted that the ad dollar was expected to surpass $1 billion in 2021 and beyond. According to eMarketer, podcast ad revenue is expected to exceed $ 2 billion by 2023 and $3 billion by 2025.

Consequently, 2022 offers podcasters, small and large, an opportunity to get a piece of the pie. Consider finding sponsors for your podcast (if you don’t have any) or growing your sponsorship portfolio.

With that said, Nielsen also notes that there is an overabundance of active podcasts, which makes it difficult for brands to narrow down their options. Brands should consider advertising in different podcasts to broaden their reach.

smiling woman recording podcast and discussing podcast statistics
Source: Pexels

Podcast Statistics for Podcast Distribution

According to the Infinite Dial 2021 report, Spotify is the leading platform for podcast distribution.  Spotify has particularly played a crucial role in the popularity of podcasts among young listeners. Other leading online audio and podcast platforms include Pandora, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcast, Google Play, Amazon Music, and SoundCloud.


As the demand for on-demand content in the podcast industry increases, there is expected to be a continued increase in podcast listenership across all demographics. Podcasting offers great multi-tasking convenience, and listeners can find detailed information for a given niche.

With the estimated podcast ad revenue expected to surpass the $3 billion mark by 2025, podcasters have an opportunity to make more money through sponsorships. These are the kind of podcast statistics that we love to see!

Although the number of white listeners will remain high, there will be growth in Latino, Hispanic, Asian, and black listeners.

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Last Update: February 23, 2024