Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fifteen Percent of Americans Are Offline. Here’s Who They Are.

Keturah Hetrick's picture
A survey by Pew’s Internet & American Life Project found that 85% of American adults use the Internet. So who are the 15% who don’t?
The report, released today, found that Internet use is strongly tied to age. A staggering 98% of adults under 30 use the Internet. From there, the percentage of non-users decreases as age increases. While 50- to 64-year-olds are still largely connected, 17% report not going online. But two thirds of those born before 1947 are offline.
Adults over the age of 64 comprise about half of non-users. So, as demographics shift and today’s Internet users grow older, the number of offline seniors will decrease.
Internet use also correlates to household income. A quarter of those making less than $30,000 per year are non-Internet users. That makes sense: One in five non-users cited the price of owning a computer or paying for Internet access as the greatest reason for being offline.
Another 32% of respondents report thatuse issues kept them from accessing the Internet. They answered that using the Internet was “too difficult / frustrating,” that they were “worried about privacy,” and or that they were “too old to learn.”
But for even more offline Americans, the barrier isn’t usability or access, but interest. More than a third of non-users cite the Internet’s irrelevance to their lives as the primary reason that they remain offline. That means that 5% of American adults think the Internet is just not worth their time.
Even though they don’t use it themselves, many non-users have still had some form of indirect experience with the Internet. A third of them are former Internet users and/or live with others who use the Internet, and 44% have asked others to use the Internet on their behalf.
Only 8% offline adults express interest in using the Internet in the future. It seems that you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks—especially if the dog is unwilling to learn.
(For those of you who care about this sort of thing, the margin of error for results based on all adults is 2.3 at a 95% level of confidence.)

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