New study shows how Americans’ internet access has changed over the past 15 years

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A new study from Pew Research Center reported on how internet trends have changed in America over the past 15 years. The study analysed data from 2000 to present and indicated that 84% of Americans now use the internet. Both the young and the college educated are more likely to use the internet, with a large percentage of frequent internet users in the 18-49 age range.

According to the study, internet usage is much lower amongst those aged 50 and over. However, research indicated that although older groups have lower levels of internet usage, they have shown the most change over the past 15 years, with only 14% of seniors reportedly online in 2000, compared to 58% today.

Adults with a college or university degree are reported to be far more likely to use the internet. However, less educated people are now using the internet more as well, with 66% of people who have not completed school being active online.

Adults who live in urban or suburban areas are also more active online, compared to those who live in rural areas. One contributing factor to this statistic is that those living in rural areas are more likely to be elderly and have a lower income.

While men were more active than women online many years ago, the study found that men and women are equally likely to use the internet today.

The study said: “Today, men and women are equally likely to be internet users, a trend that has not wavered throughout the 15 years these surveys have been conducted. However, the earliest Pew Research surveys found that men were more likely than women to be internet users. For instance, a 1995 survey found 9% of men and 4% of women had used a “modem to connect to any computer bulletin boards, information services such as Compuserve or Prodigy.”

“By 2000, when Pew Research began tracking internet use more consistently, 54% of men were internet users, compared with half of women. This modest gap continued, gradually shrinking until 2008 when a statistically indistinguishable 74% of men and 73% of women identified as internet users. Today, 85% of men and 84% of women report being internet users.”


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