Commentary

Adults Online Grows From 9% in '95 To 77% Today

Adults Online Grows From 9% in '95 To 77% Today

According to the latest Harris Poll, the number of adults who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other locations continues to grow at a steady rate. In the past year, the number of online users has reached an estimated 172 million, a five percent increase. Harris Interactive calculates that 77 percent of U.S. adults are now online, up from 74 percent in February/April 2005, 66 percent in the spring of 2002, 64 percent in 2001 and 57 percent in spring of 2000. When Harris Interactive first began to track Internet use in 1995, only nine percent of adults reported they went online.

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The proportion of adults who are now online at home has risen to 70 percent, up from 66 percent in 2005 and 55 percent in the spring of 2002. The percentage of those online at work has not really changed (35% now, 36% in 2005) yet is still up from 30 percent in the spring of 2002. Adults who are online at a location other than their home or work also remains steady at 22 percent (21% in 2005, 19% in the spring of 2002).

As Internet penetration rises, the demographic profile of Internet users continues to look more like that of the nation as a whole, says the report. However:

  • More young than older people, and more affluent than low-income people, are online
  • Eight percent of those online are now age 65 or over (compared to 16% of all adults who are 65 or over)
  • 39 percent of those online (compared to 47% of all adults) did not go to college
  • 14 percent have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared to 19% of all adults)

Trends in Internet Usage Location Since 2000 (base: all adults)

Online Adults

%Total

%Online at Home

%Online at Work

%Online at Other Location

Average (Mean) Hours Per Week Spent Online (excluding email)

2006

February/April

77

70

35

22

9

2005

February/April

74

66

36

21

9

2004

June/ August

73

65

34

17

8

2003

October/December

69

61

31

16

9

2002

November/December

67

57

28

18

7

February/March

66

55

30

19

8

2001

September/October

64

52

28

19

7

March/April

64

53

27

20

7

2000

October/November

63

49

29

17

7

April/May

57

45

24

15

7

Source: Harris Poll, April 2006

Profile Of Online Population (February-April 2006 Base: All adults)

% Total U.S. Adult Online Population

% Total U.S. Adult Population*

Percentage Point Difference

AGE

18 - 29

24

21

+3

30 - 39

22

18

+4

40 - 49

22

20

+2

50+

30

37

-7

50 - 64

22

22

0

65+

8

16

-8

SEX

Men

49

48

+1

Women

51

52

-1

RACE/ETHNICITY

White

76

75

+1

Black

10

11

-1

Hispanic

13

13

0

EDUCATION

High school or less

39

47

-8

Some college

30

27

+3

College graduate (or postgraduate)

30

25

+5

HOUSEHOLD INCOME

Less than $25,000

14

19

-5

$25,000 to less than $50,000

23

24

-1

$50,000 and over

52

44

+8

*Based on data from the March 2005 U.S. Current Population Survey

Source: Harris Poll, April 2006

For more data from Harris, please go here.

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