Skip to content

America Offline: Who Isn’t on the Internet Yet?

The internet is so widely used today that for many, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Yet, despite its prevalence, there’s still a small fraction of Americans who aren’t online.

Who are these non-adopters? Using data from Pew Research Center, this graphic provides a demographic breakdown of the U.S. adults who don’t use the internet.

The Demographic Breakdown

In the last two decades, internet adoption in the U.S. has skyrocketed, causing America’s offline population shrink to just 7%.

That’s a significant drop from 2000, when almost half of the American population did not use the internet.

According to the data, age seems closely linked to non-internet use—25% of respondents aged 65+ claimed they do not use the internet, compared to just 4% of those aged 50-64.

Age % of U.S. Adults Who Don’t Use the Internet
18–29 1%
30–49 2%
50–64 4%
65+ 25%

However, it’s worth noting that 86% of U.S. seniors (65+) weren’t online in 2000, so this age group has seen a significant increase in internet adoption over the last two decades.

Income also seems to be correlated with non-internet use. 14% of respondents with an annual household income below $30,000 claimed to not use the internet, compared to 1% who make $75,000 or more per year.

Annual Household Income % of U.S. Adults Who Don’t Use the Internet
<$30K 14%
$30K–$49,999 9%
$50K–$74,999 2%
$75K+ 1%

Additionally, education may have positive correlation with internet adoption. Just 2–3% of survey respondents who went to college claimed to not use the internet, compared to 14% for those who didn’t study beyond high school. Interestingly, the data did not show a strong correlation between non-adoption and gender or race.

Why is This Important?

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, the internet is starting to become a necessity rather than a luxury. And those who don’t have good access to the web are starting to face significant obstacles in their day-to-day lives.

For instance, when schools closed down during the early days of the global pandemic, many American children in lower-income homes did not have reliable internet at home or didn’t have a computer to complete their schoolwork on.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Pew Research Center

Details: This survey is based on telephone interviews conducted in the U.S. from Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021, among a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Full details on methodology here.

internet adoption in the U.S.

[ad_2]