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Three-Quarters of All U.S. Adults are Online

According to the latest Harris Poll, the number of 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 172 million, a five percent increase.

In research among 2,032 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone in February and April 2006, Harris Interactive found that 77 percent of adults are now online, up from 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 proportion of adults who are now online at home has risen to 70 percent, up from 66 percent in 2005 and 55 percent in the spring of 2002. The percentage of those online at work has not really changed (35 percent now, 36 percent in 2005) yet is still up from 30 percent in the spring of 2002. Adults who are online at a location other than their home or work also remains steady at 22 percent (21 percent in 2005, 19 percent in the spring of 2002).

As Internet penetration rises, 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, eight 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 go to college and 14 percent have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared to 19 percent of all adults).

That said, it's interesting to note that as more and more mainstream American consumers embrace the Internet, and outnumber the early-adopters, Internet service providers essentially haven't significantly changed how they sell or support their services.

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