Minority, Low-Income Internet Use Increases

More than half of the African-American households in the United States are now linked to the Internet, according to a study by comScore Networks, which also found low-income and seniors are increasing their online presence.

ComScore’s data found that 51 percent of U.S. African-American households are online, representing a 35 percent growth rate from April 2000 to April 2001. With a growth rate of 28 percent, households earning less than $25,000 per year increased their Internet presence more than any other income segment, bringing total household penetration in this income sector to 36 percent. Internet connections by households earning $25,000 to $50,000 grew 17 percent compared to 2000, representing the second largest increase by income segment and bringing total household online penetration in this income range to 56 percent.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, home Internet access for blue-collar workers grew faster than any other occupational group, surging 52 percent from March 2000 to March 2001.

For households whose eldest member is 65 or older, comScore found that Internet connectivity grew by 25 percent to 27 percent. The 55 to 64 age range experienced the second largest increase in the age demographic, growing by 20 percent and reaching a penetration level of 52 percent.

“In 2000 the Internet has continued its growth toward becoming a mainstream medium,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman and cofounder of comScore Networks. “The rapidly growing online penetration into these new demographic segments suggests that Web usage is on its way to becoming pervasive, and that many marketing strategies may need to be re-examined in light of the ability of the Internet to efficiently and effectively reach a wide variety of target consumer segments.”

Other findings from the comScore study include:

  • Total number of U.S. households with access to the Internet grew by 15% versus last year with 58% of all U.S. homes now using the Web.
  • Nearly 60 percent of Caucasian households in the United States have access to the Internet.
  • Households in the West have the dominant regional presence in the United States with 62 percent on the Web, followed by the Northeast (60 percent), the South (58 percent) and the North Central (54 percent).
  • Households where the eldest member is in the 25 to 34-year-old age group have the largest online penetration at 68 percent, followed by the 35 to 44 age range at 66 percent.

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