In a world that has never been more connected through technology and the internet, there is still roughly 15% of American adults who are not plugged into the World Wide Web, according to a study by Pew Research that was conducted in May and released this week.
Researchers from Pew asked adults why they didn’t use the internet in a controlled survey with a 2.3% margin of error.
• 34% of non-internet users think it is not relevant to them, citing they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it, according to the study.
• 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware and hackers.
• 19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
• 7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.
• 44% of non-users were age 65 or older
• 41% of non-users lacked a high school diploma
• 24% of the non-users earned below $30,000 annually
• 20% of the non-users lived in rural areas.
AT HOME USE
Even among the 85% of adults who do go online, experiences connecting to the internet may vary widely.
For instance, even though 76% of adults use the internet at home, 9% of adults use the internet but lack home access.
These internet users cite many reasons for not having internet connections at home, most often relating to issues of affordability.
Roughly 44% mention financial issues such as not having a computer, or having a cheaper option outside the home.
As the use of smart phones continues to escalate in the U.S. researchers believe more of that 15% of non-users will be converted. That reasoning is based on the fact that 44% of non-users said they often ask others to look up information for them online.
“A majority of the public now owns a smartphone, and mobile devices are playing an increasingly central role in the way that Americans access online services and information,” said Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.
“For many, such as younger adults or lower-income Americans, cell phones are often a primary device for accessing online content — a development that has particular relevance to companies and organizations seeking to reach these groups.”