Three-Quarters of Americans Have Access from Home

Internet penetration in U.S. households has reached nearly 75 percent, rising roughly 9 percentage points in a year, Nielsen//NetRatings reported in its newly-released Enumeration Study, conducted in February of 2004.

“In just a handful of years, online access has managed to gain the type of traction that took other media decades to achieve,” said Kenneth Cassar, director of strategic analysis, Nielsen//NetRatings.

According to the gender analysis of the study, 34.6 million women in the 35 to 54 age range accessed the Internet from home, making them the power users.

Using its own data, along with U.S. Census figures, Nielsen//NetRatings determined that women have surpassed men by roughly 2 million, and their dominance is being noticed online. Recent research from America Online found that women even spend more time playing games online than other demographics, including teens.

Following the women, 32.3 million males in the same age category logged on from home, and, while still among the less frequent users, 40 million adults aged 55 and over were home surfers.

The study defined Internet access penetration as the percent of people who have access to the Internet at home, though it didn’t note whether they’d logged on during a specific timeframe.

Internet Access Penetration
(U.S., Home)
Group Penetration
Females 35-54 81.7%
Males 35-54 80.2%
Females 25-34 77.0%
Males 25-34 75.6%
All 2-17 77.6%
All 18-24 75.0%
All 55+ 63.4%
Total 74.9%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings Enumeration Study,
February 2004

While Nielsen//NetRatings assessed penetration at 66 percent in February 2003, by Harris Interactive’s measurements, the population had already hit the figure a year earlier. Harris Interactive currently measures Internet penetration at 69 percent of U.S. adults.

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