Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Some Americans Will Never Be Online

According to the latest Harris Poll, the number of U.S. adults who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other locations continues to grow at a steady rate. In the past year, the number of online users has reached an estimated 178 million, a ten percent increase.

Perhaps the really interesting story, however, is the reasons why the remaining people don't use the Internet. Maybe it's because they are part of the 58 percent of the adult population that admits to never reading another book after high school.

In research among 2,062 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone in July and October, 2007, Harris Interactive found that 79 percent of adults are now online. This is a steady rise over the past few years, from 77 percent in February/April 2006, 74 percent in February/April 2005, 66 percent in the spring of 2002, 64 percent in 2001 and 57 percent in Spring of 2000.

When Harris Interactive first began to track Internet use in 1995, only nine percent of adults reported they went online.

The amount of time that people are spending online has also risen. The average number of hours per week that people are spending online is now at 11 hours, up from 9 hours last year and 8 hours in 2005.

The proportion of adults who are now online at home has risen to 72 percent, up from 70 percent in 2006 and 66 percent in the spring of 2005. The percentage of those online at work has also risen, now at 37 percent, and up from 35 percent in 2006.

The largest increase is among those adults who are online at a location other than their home or work as this has risen from 22 percent in 2006 to 31 percent today. It appears people who do not have access at home or work are increasingly turning to other outlets to get online.

As Internet penetration continues to grow, the demographic profile of Internet users continues to look more like that of the nation as a whole. It is still true that more young than older people, and more affluent than low-income people, are online.

However, nine percent of those online are now age 65 or over (compared to 16 percent of all adults who are 65 or over), 39 percent of those online (compared to 47 percent of all adults) did not attend at least some college and 13 percent have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared to 17 percent of all adults).