East, West Coasts Boast Most Online
If conventional media planning rules are applied, the Internet could find itself suffering or benefiting from those clusters of penetration based on the local and regional concentrations of targets for various brands.
Not surprisingly, the study, which was released Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found the highest concentrations of Internet penetration and usage on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, while the interior parts of the country - especially the Midwest and South - fell markedly below the average.
Online penetration levels in southern states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, averaged only 48%.
Midwest states including Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa averaged online penetration levels of 55%.
Pacific Northwest states Washington and Oregon were the highest at 68%, followed by New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) at 66% and California at 66%.
Surprisingly, the Mid-Atlantic region (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware), fell below the national average at 58%.
Tom Spooner, research specialist at the Pew Internet Project and author of the new report "Internet Use by Region in the United States," said difference in income and education levels among the regions were the biggest factors driving Internet usage by adults.
Aside from penetration levels, the report finds marked differences in Internet behavior by region. New Englanders and Californians, for example, are the most likely to shop online, while Southerners are the least likely to engage in e-commerce.
And in a finding that could have implications for usage of streaming media, California was found to have the highest concentration of broadband users, while the Mountain states have the lowest.