African Americans Most Active Users of Mobile Web

A third of Americans have now accessed the Internet from a mobile handset, and over half have connected using other wireless devices such as laptops, games consoles, and MP3 players. A new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project also found that African Americans are now the most active users of the mobile Internet, with 48 percent having used the Internet on a mobile device, and 29 percent claiming to go online with a handheld every day.

“The notion of a digital divide for African Americans has some resonance when thinking about the wireline internet. But when you introduce the mobile internet, the picture changes and African Americans are the pace setters,” noted John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author of the report.

Pew polled 2,253 people in April this year and found that 32 percent of U.S. adults now claim to have used a cell or smart phone to browse the Web or use e-mail or instant messaging while on the move. That figure represents an increase over the 24 percent that had done so when asked in a similar survey in December 2007.

Users are also accessing the mobile Web more regularly, with 19 percent accessing the Internet from a mobile device the day before this year’s survey, compared with just 11 percent having done so in 2007.

Horrigan attributed the growth to the increasing demand for access to information while away from home or work. The ability to share content with others through services such as Twitter is another factor.

Overall, 56 percent of survey respondents claimed to have accessed the Internet wirelessly in some shape or form. Laptop computers proved the most popular method with 39 percent of respondents having used one. Desktop computers and game consoles followed mobile devices at 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

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