Study: Three-quarters of U.S. adults use Internet

A new Pew Research Center study finds most American Internet users are young, white, and educated.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

This graph shows the rise of Internet use among U.S. adults over time. Pew Research Center

Nearly three-quarters of American adults use the Internet, more than half connect wirelessly via laptop or handheld, and 60 percent use broadband connections at home, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center survey (PDF) also found that Internet users in the U.S. tend to be young, white, and educated, with an equal distribution between men and women.

The results show that 74 percent of people surveyed use the Internet. Other demographics are:

  • 93 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 years old said they use the Web, followed by 81 percent in the 30-to-49 age range.

  • 76 percent of caucasian respondents said they use the Internet, while 59 percent of African-American respondents did, and 55 percent of Hispanics did.

  • 94 percent of people with a household income of $75,000 or more use the Internet.

  • And Internet users are somewhat geographically balanced, with 77 percent of suburbanites using the Web, 74 percent of people living in urban areas using it, and 70 percent of rural residents reporting they are online.

The overall 74 percent Internet usage figure is down slightly from the 79 percent who said they use the Internet in April 2009, but the inclusion of 61 interviews in Spanish makes a direct comparison between the two surveys difficult. The Spanish interviews likely also skewed the broadband figure, which dropped slightly from 63 percent in April 2009, according to the study.

More than 2,250 adults were interviewed over the phone in December for the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.