U.S. Internet Use Hits New Highs

Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Internet Penetration and Impact
Surveys fielded in 2006 show that internet penetration among adults in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. While the percentage of Americans who say they use the internet has continued to fluctuate slightly, our latest survey, fielded February 15 – April 6, 2006 shows that fully 73% of respondents (about 147 million adults) are internet users, up from 66% (about 133 million adults) in our January 2005 survey. And the share of Americans who have broadband connections at home has now reached 42% (about 84 million), up from 29% (about 59 million) in January 2005.

While 88% of 18-29 year-olds now go online, 84% of 30-49 year-olds, 71% of 50-64 year-olds, and 32% of those age 65 and older say they use the internet. In a separate survey conducted in Oct-Nov 2004, we found that 87% of 12-17 year-olds use the internet.

Those in the lowest-income households are considerably less likely to be online. Just 53% of adults living in households with less than $30,000 in annual income go online, versus 80% of those whose income is between $30,000-50,000. Adults who live in households earning $50,000 or more exceed the national average for internet penetration; 86% of adults living in households with annual income between $50,000 and $75,000 use the internet, compared with 91% of adults living in households earning more than $75,000.

Education also remains an important indicator for internet use. While 40% of adults who ave less than a high school education use the internet, 64% of adults with a high schooldegree go online. Among those who have some college education, 84% use the internet, nd 91% of adults with at least a college degree go online.

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