NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Internet has become so entwined in their lives that many Americans might have trouble coping without it. But a new survey found that some 15 per cent of Americans — about 1 in 7 — don’t use the Internet at all. Most of them prefer it that way.
The study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project also found that another 9 per cent of U.S. adults only use the Internet when they are not at home. Adults with lower levels of income and education, as well as blacks and Hispanics, are significantly more likely to rely on Internet access outside of their home, in libraries, at work or elsewhere.
Of the people who don’t go online, only 8 per cent want to. The rest said they are not interested.
Nearly everyone who goes online has broadband access, the report found. Only 3 per cent of people who use the Internet do so using a dial-up connection.
Internet use has increased steadily since Pew began doing the survey. In 1995, only 14 per cent of Americans said they went online. By 2000, half were online and by 2007, three-quarters.
As in previous years, age, income, education level and race have a lot to do with who is and isn’t online. Forty-four per cent of people 65 or older are not online, compared with 2 per cent of those aged 18 to 29. Of people who have not graduated from high school, 41 per cent don’t go online, compared with 4 per cent of those with a college degree.
Nearly a quarter of people with household incomes of less than $30,000 per year are offline, compared with 4 per cent of those with $75,000 or more. Gender didn’t seem to make a difference in whether someone went online or not. Eighty-five per cent of men use the Internet, along with 84 per cent of women.
Here are some of the reasons people gave for not going online:
— 34 per cent think the Internet is not relevant to them — they are not interested, don’t want to use it or don’t need it.
— 13 per cent don’t have a computer, 7 per cent don’t have Internet access and 6 per cent said it’s too expensive.
— Three per cent said they are worried about things such as privacy, viruses, spam or hackers.
— Four per cent think it’s a waste of time. That doesn’t stop the rest of us, though.
— Nearly a third of people cited usability for not going online. This includes people who say they are too old or physically unable to get online because they have poor eyesight or are disabled, along with people who find it too difficult to use. Those who worry about privacy and such are also lumped into this category.
The survey of 2,252 U.S. adults was conducted from April 17 to May 19 on landline and mobile phones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.