It’s natural to assume that these days, pretty much all Americans go online regularly. And indeed, that is the case. According to a survey of ~2,000 Americans age 18 and older conducted recently by the Pew Research Center, more than three in four respondents (~77%) reported that they go online at least once each day.
But even more interesting perhaps is another finding from the Pew survey: More than one in four Americans (~26%) report that they are online “almost constantly”.
That proportion is up from one in five just a couple years ago.
Even for people who go online but don’t use a mobile device, nearly 55% report that they go online at least daily, although just 5% of them report being online continually.
Looking further into the Pew findings, the “always on” population is skewed younger … better educated … ethnically diverse … and with higher incomes:
- Men: ~25%
- Women: ~27%
- 18-29: ~39%
- 30-49: ~36%
- 50-64: ~17%
- 65 or older: ~8%
- High school degree or less: ~20%
- Some college: ~28%
- College degree or more: ~34%
- Non-white: ~33%
- White: ~23%
- Less than $30K annual income: ~24%
- $30-$75K annual income: ~25%
- $75K or higher annual income: ~35%
- Living in urban areas: ~32%
- Living in suburban areas: ~27%
- Living in rural areas: ~15%
Regarding location, one explanation for the lower “always on” characteristics of rural dwellers may be that interconnectivity isn’t as simple and easy as it is in urban environments.
Or perhaps it’s because rural areas offer more attractive options for people to spend their time doing more fulfilling things than being tethered to the online world 24/7/365 …
Which is it? Your thoughts on this or the other dynamics uncovered by Pew are welcomed. You can also read more about the survey findings here.