Why have 1 in 5 Americans rejected the Internet?

April 13, 2012

To someone who spends half his life online, the news that 1 in 5 Americans still haven’t connected to the Internet is shocking. But it’s a shocking truth, according to new research.

Pew Internet & American Life Project has unveiled the results of its latest survey, pulled from data collected last year. Its Digital Differences (via MSNBC) study discovered that 22 percent of U.S. adults still aren’t using the Internet. Of that number, around half aren’t interested, don’t want or need it, and don’t think it’s relevant to them.

The study concludes:

“Senior citizens, those who prefer to take our interviews in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are the least likely adults to have Internet access.”

In 1995 around 10 percent of adults were online, now it’s around 80 percent. So over the course of just under 20 years the vast majority of U.S. citizens have chosen to embrace the Internet. And not just on computers, either, with mobile devices now bringing the Internet to the masses outside of the home as well.

This would suggest that everyone who is ever going to want to get online has already done so. Unless it’s for purely financial reasons, and circumstances change for some individuals, I cannot see that final 20 percent ever getting online in a big way. Of course with 95 percent of teenagers already online this is likely to be a generational trend that disappears with the older population.

It’s now inconceivable to me to live without the Internet. I have become reliant on this collection of disparate pages for so many things that if it were suddenly to be taken away I’d be at a loss. I know there are more important things in life – like food and shelter, for instance – but access to the Web is a high priority for many of us. And yet more than 1 in 5 Americans are living without the Internet. By choice. Color me stunned by this revelation.

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4 Responses to “Why have 1 in 5 Americans rejected the Internet?”

  1. a non e mous:

    Dave, perhaps you should remember that many elderly people simply don’t “get” IT – and because of that, they shy away from anything to do with the internet and only interact with computer technology when they absolutely have to.

    There are also other older people who simply don’t have a need or desire to connect. As far as they are concerned, their lives are not diminished at all. My parents are one such example. They are definitely not illiterate or shy of technology, but they simply don’t see a pressing need to have an internet account. On the odd occasion where access is required
    they simply ask me to provide access to my connection.

    Just as any responsible family member would do.

    Perhaps you are too close to the screen – maybe you need to get to get offline for a while and get some perspective?

  2. Lexie Gant:

    Fuel Brand Network Credits–> DesignCrowd.com © 2008-2012

  3. technology:

    technology is essential part of life.http://infotechspace.com

  4. Jillxz:

    I certainly don’t need the internet to connect. I prefer a face to face connection lol. My internet is used to look up topics of interest. Hobbies , recipes , history , and especially news.

    I don’t care for the social aspect at all , although I have a Facebook and Twitter account. I really don’t have a need for them and could very easily live without them.

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