Americans love podcasts, according to a survey we recently conducted of people 13 to 49 in the US. They appreciate being able to listen anywhere, at their own pace, and while doing other activities. So, how does age influence how and why they listen?

Our research shows that podcasts fill very different needs for Americans in each age group. Here’s how:

Younger listeners relax and unwind with podcasts.

Kids 8 to 12 enjoy podcasts for entertainment and relaxation in their free time. Their main occasions for listening are at bedtime, during down time, and while traveling long-distance. This age group reported that they’ve been listening to podcasts more in the last 3 months, presenting an opportunity to capitalize on this momentum by offering podcasts for younger listeners.

Teens 13 to 17 listen to podcasts passively to pass time and unwind. Like younger kids, they’re most likely to listen at bedtime. Podcast listening offers a break from other activities, something to do while doing nothing in particular. However, while podcasts have a firm place in teens’ media repertoire, their usage is not increasing.

For adults, podcasts are a source of companionship and intellectual stimulation.

Adults 18 to 24 value podcasts as a “companion” throughout their day. They often listen while doing housework, exercising, or getting ready to start or end their day. Young adults say they’ve been listening to podcasts more in the last 3 months – perhaps because they’re so seamlessly integrated into their daily routines.

Adults 25 to 49 take advantage of podcasts as a way to expand their knowledge. These adults turn to podcasts to learn new things, understand a topic in more depth, stay up to date, and hear different perspectives. Their listening happens while multitasking – doing housework, exercising, and commuting. Adults in this age range claim their podcast listening is on the rise, too.

Taken together, podcasts offer a new way for Americans of all ages to relax, be entertained, and take in new ideas while going about their day-to-day lives.