U.S. Online Population Holds Steady

A survey by Harris Interactive is interesting not for what it found, but for what it didn’t find — specifically, no sizeable increase in the U.S. adult Internet population for the first time since 1994.

The proportion of all adults who are online at work, home or from any other location (such as school, library or cyber café) is 64 percent, according to The Harris Poll, a survey of more than 2,000 adults. To put a number on it, this makes the U.S. online adult population about 127 million people aged 18 and older. Last year, the proportion was 63 percent, or about 121 million adults.

More than half of U.S. adults go online from home, up from 49 percent in 2000. More than one-quarter (28 percent) are online at work and 19 percent go online from other locations. The survey also found computer use is becoming synonymous with Internet access. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all adults are using a computer at home, work or at another location, virtually identical to last year’s 74 percent. Eighty-eight percent of all those who use a computer are online, 12 percent are not.

Despite a move toward demographics more representative of the general population, Harris found the online population still skewed toward the more educated, more affluent and the non-elderly. But 19 percent of those online have household incomes of $25,000 or less (compared to 25 percent of the total U.S. population), 38 percent have never been to college (52 percent of U.S. adult population) and 7 percent are over the age of 65 (16 percent U.S. adult population).


Profile of U.S. Online Population
Online
Adults
All
Adults
Age
18 to 29 28% 22%
30 to 39 23% 22%
40 to 49 23% 20%
50 to 64 18% 18%
65+ 7% 16%
Gender
Men 51% 48%
Women 49% 52%
Race/Ethnicity
White 76% 76%
Black 10% 12%
Hispanic 10% 10%
Education
High school or less 38% 52%
Some College 30% 26%
College grad/post grad 32% 22%
Household Income
$25,000 or less 19% 25%
$25,001 to $50,000 23% 29%
$50,001 and over 45% 32%
Source: Harris Interactive
U.S. Adults Online
Year Adults
Online
1995 9%
1997 30%
1998 56%
2000 63%
2001 64%
Source: Harris Interactive

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