The number of American adults using the internet rose to 85 per cent from 80 per cent last year, according to the latest survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
This implies that 15 per cent, or 24 million adults, remain offline, with age being the most significant factor.
Notably, the survey found that almost 50 per cent of the non-internet users are 65 years of age or older. Education also played a vital role, with more than 40 per cent of non-users not holding a high school diploma. Race, sex and income level also played a major role in internet use, while geographic locations have become less significant.
In explaining their reasons for not using the internet, most respondents said the internet is not relevant to them, while usability emerged as the second most popular reason. When combined, the two reasons accounted for 66 per cent of the Americans who are still offline. The survey listed availability and price as the least important reasons.
In a separate survey, Pew Internet found that 56 per cent of those using the internet have searched their name via search engines to “see what information is available about them online.” This is an increase from 2001’s 22 per cent, albeit below 2009’s 57 per cent.
The survey took place in April and May to celebrate Google’s 15th birthday.
For those concerned about their online reputation, Google is offering a “Me on the Web” feature, which allows users to receive notifications each time information about them, such as a phone number or email address, is posted online.
Other third-party firms, like Brandfolder, have also offered help to individuals and businesses in managing their online reputation.