Home Internet Access Continuing To Grow, But Big Differences Among Demographics

Home Internet Access Continuing To Grow, But Big Differences Among Demographics

More than 80 percent of Americans now have a computer in their homes, and of those, almost 92 percent have internet access, according to a detailed report on home internet access prepared by Nielsen.  One year earlier, computer ownership stood at 77.9 percent.

Using data collected from its national and local television panels, the quarterly Home Technology phone survey and the Nielsen Claritas 2008 Convergence Audit survey, the report provides a detailed look at how Americans are getting on the internet and the differences by various demographic breaks.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Internet access is correlated with education level and a household’s combined annual income. As they increase, so does the likelihood of internet access.
  • Internet access is lowest in Hispanic and African-American homes, as well as those where the head of household has not completed a high school education.
  • Access is much lower in rural areas and in homes that receive only broadcast TV.
  • Those using dial-up service tend be older, with more modest incomes and lower education levels than those using high-speed internet.
  • The East South Central region (consisting of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky), had the highest number of households with no internet access – 26 percent.
  • The top five markets with the highest percentage of homes with internet access are Washington, DC, Norfolk, Salt Lake City, Boston and Portland, OR.
  • The five markets with the lowest percentages are Knoxville, Greenville, Albuquerque, Memphis and Tulsa.

“Our findings indicate that there remains opportunity for growth in internet access in the U.S.  Indeed, President Obama stated during the campaign that we had to view broadband internet access the same way we did telephone service and electricity – an essential utility available to all regardless of economic status,” said Steve McGowan, Senior Vice President, Insights and Client Research Initiatives at Nielsen.  “But part of the challenge in extending web access to all Americans is the fact that there are more homes without computers, than there are homes with computers but lacking internet access.”

To view the complete report, click here.