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Why don't some people use the Internet?

Senior citizens make up a huge chunk of those who abstain, but income, education, location and ethnicity also are factors, according to Pew Research.

Who are the 15 percent of people polled who still don't use the Internet? CNET

For the vast majority of people living in the US, Internet use is a given, an expectation, a norm. But about 15 percent still don't turn to the Net at all, according to new data from Pew Research.

That figure is down substantially from 2000 when 48 percent said they didn't go online. But it has remained around the same over the last three years, according to Pew.

Over the past 15 years since Pew has been conducting its polls, the Internet has grown into a dominant force for most of us. We use it to work, to play, to research, to stay in touch. In other surveys, many people have said they'd sooner give up TV, cars and even sex before they'd give up the Internet.

So in 2015, who are the people who don't go online -- and why don't they?

Senior citizens made up a hefty portion of those who don't use the Internet, according to Pew. Thirty-nine percent of those 65 and older said they don't go online, compared with 3 percent of those ages 18 through 29.

Household income and education also play a role. One-third of adults lacking a high school diploma said they don't use the Internet. And adults with annual household incomes of less than $30,000 are eight times less likely than wealthier adults to use the Internet.

Finally, location and ethnicity factor in, according to Pew's results. People in rural areas are around twice as likely as those in urban or suburban locales to never go online. Around 20 percent of African Americans and 18 percent of Hispanics said they don't use the Internet, compared with 14 percent of whites and 5 percent of English-speaking Asian Americans, Pew said.

This year's survey didn't offer specifics, but a Pew poll conducted in 2013 did.

In that year, 34 percent said they didn't go online because they had no interest in the Internet or didn't think it was relevant to their lives. Another 32 percent who avoided the Internet said it was too difficult to use. Out of that group, 8 percent said they were "too old to learn." And 19 percent cited cost, saying they couldn't afford Internet service or a computer.

Still, Internet use has shot up for some groups over the past 15 years. Around 86 percent of those 65 and older did not go online in 2000 compared with 39 percent now. And among those who never graduated high school, 81 percent said they didn't use the Internet in 2000 compared with 33 percent currently.

Pew's latest research is based on a series of three polls conducted in 2015 that questioned 5,005 people in the US.