America’s Young Adults Turn to Net

The Internet is quickly displacing older media such as television and newspapers as the prime source of important information for America’s youngest adults, according to a survey by the Round Table Group.

The nationwide telephone poll of 1,014 households commissioned by the group and conducted by Opinion Research Corp. International, found that 67 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 live in households that use the Internet to gather key information, compared to a nationwide average of just 46 percent who use the Internet for that purpose.

Among those young adult users, 59 percent say that their household currently receives more “useful information” from the Internet than from newspapers. Fifty-three percent say they receive more “useful information” from the Internet than from television.

“The huge conversion of Generation X from newspaper and television consumption to Internet usage helps explain the urgency of huge media deals such as the recent AOL/Time Warner merger,” said Russ Rosenweig, CEO of the Round Table Group. “Traditional media has a right to feel fearful of these rapidly changing demographics. The changeover is happening much more rapidly than anyone predicted.”

According to the study, 84 percent of 18 to 24-year-old Internet users say that their household is more likely to use the Internet to retrieve useful information than they are to go to the public library. And when they need the answer to a specific question, 68 percent of those households are more likely to consult the Internet than turn to a newspaper, and 67 percent are more likely to consult the Internet than rely on television.

Seventy-three percent of Internet households in the 18 to 24 age group say they have used the Internet to retrieve work-related information. Forty-seven percent of that age group say that someone in their household would probably be interested in taking an educational course over the Internet for work or for other purposes.

The study found the slowest groups to log onto the Internet have been the elderly, the poor, and those with the least education. In American households with incomes under $25,000, 68 percent do not use the Internet, and 67 percent of Americans who have not completed high school do not have Internet users in their households. Of those aged 65 and higher, 70 percent live in households that do not use the Internet.

But according to the survey, Internet usage by white, black, and Hispanic households is approximately equal, with only 43 percent of white households and 43 percent of black households lacking Internet access, compared to 38 percent of Hispanic households that lack Internet access.

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