NEW YORK -- U.S. newspaper circulation was almost unchanged in the six months that ended in September as publications continued to make gains in digital editions, according to data from a media industry group.

Average daily circulation for print and digital editions combined fell 0.2 percent for the 613 newspapers included in the semiannual study by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sunday circulation for the 528 newspapers in Tuesday's report increased 0.6 percent.

The Wall Street Journal kept its position as the No. 1 newspaper. Its average circulation grew 9.4 percent to 2.3 million, largely because more readers are paying to read content on its website and mobile devices. Digital circulation grew about 257,000 from a year ago, more than making up for a loss of nearly 60,000 in print.

USA Today was second at 1.7 million, down 3.9 percent. USA Today, which is owned by Gannett Co., remained the No. 1 print newspaper, with a higher circulation than the Journal after digital editions are excluded. Unlike the Journal, USA Today doesn't charge for website access. Its digital circulation is limited to other products, such as subscriptions on Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle.

The New York Times followed at 1.6 million, a 40 percent increase. More than half of the Times' circulation was for digital editions, including subscriptions for full access to the Times' website and mobile apps. The company attributed the gains to the growing popularity of its digital editions and to new rules giving publications more flexibility to count as multiple subscriptions the same person's usage on multiple outlets, such as the website and a Kindle.

The Times was the leading Sunday newspaper, with a circulation of 2.1 million. The Journal and USA Today do not have Sunday editions.

Circulation numbers affect advertising rates at newspapers, particularly for printed editions. Print advertising revenue has been declining in recent years as readers and advertisers shift to the Internet. The economic downturn accelerated the decline. Some newspapers have seen growth in digital ad revenue, but it hasn't been enough to offset the losses in print advertising.

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  • #25: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Total average circulation: 231,094

  • #24: Boston Globe

    Total average circulation: 245,572

  • #23: San Diego Union-Tribune

    Total average circulation: 250,678

  • #22: Las Vegas Review-Journal

    Total average circulation: 252,047

  • #21: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

    Total average circulation: 268,244

  • #20: Arizona Republic

    Total Average Circulation: 293,640

  • #19: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    Total Average Circulation: 301,345

  • #18: Philadelphia Inquirer

    Total Average Circulation: 306,831

  • #17: Cleveland Plain Dealer

    Total Average Circulation: 311,605

  • #16: Tampa Bay Times

    Total Average Circulation: 340,260

  • #15: Newark Star-Ledger

    Total Average Circulation: 340,778

  • #14: Orange County Register

    Total Average Circulation: 356,165

  • #13: Houston Chronicle

    Total Average Circulation: 360,251

  • #12: Newsday

    Total Average Circulation: 377,744

  • #11: Dallas Morning News

    Total Average Circulation: 409,265

  • #10: Chicago Tribune

    Total Average Circulation: 414,930

  • #9: Denver Post

    Total Average Circulation: 416,676

  • #8: Chicago Sun-Times

    Total Average Circulation: 470,548

  • #7: Washington Post

    Total Average Circulation: 474,767

  • #6: New York Post

    Total Average Circulation: 500,521

  • #5: New York Daily News

    Total Average Circulation: 516,165

  • #4: Los Angeles Times

    Total Average Circulation: 653,868

  • #3: USA Today

    Total Average Circulation: 1,674,306

  • #2: New York Times

    Total Average Circulation: 1,865,318

  • #1: Wall Street Journal

    Total Average Circulation: 2,378,827