New information confirming our collective internet addiction was released on Friday by the Pew Research Institute saying that 84% of American adults use the internet. The study began in 2000 and since then Pew Research has conducted almost 100 national surveys to track how the internet is used in daily life - across different ages, classes, ethnicities and communities.
The most recent analysis of the 15 years-worth of data reveals some trends that may not be new, but are worth looking at in more detail. Internet use is at "full saturation levels" among young adults, those with high levels of education and those in more affluent households. With older adults, those with less education and people living with a lower income, internet adoption is historically lower but rising consistently.
At the beginning of the study 70% of young adults used the internet and that number has increased to 96% today. Among seniors, only 14% used the internet in 2000 and 58% report doing so today. It wasn't until 2012 that more than half of adults 65 and older reported using the internet.
Those in higher-income households are most likely to use the internet, but the the boom of smartphones has decreased the gap in this category. Another recent Pew report says that lower-income Americans depend on their smartphones for internet access.
Perusing the charts and graphs filled with information from over 229,000 interviews show that, if there is a moral to this study, it's that there's still work to be done to bridge the digital access gap. Though perhaps time is all that's needed to solve that issue.
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