Pew Explores Who’s Not Using The Internet And Why?
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
In the early 19th century, a group of English textile artisans, who became known as the Luddites, protested against new labor-saving, job-killing machinery, forever linking the term Luddite with someone who opposes modern technological advancement.
Today’s Luddite, some might argue, is someone who doesn’t use the omnipresent, always-on Internet, and a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project has found that 15 percent of Americans say they don’t use the Internet at all.
Regular readers of redOrbit.com may be shocked to learn that most of these people claim to be perfectly happy not looking at videos of kittens, checking up on their fantasy football team or reading their friends’ latest Facebook rant.
According to the study, 34 percent of those not using the Internet said they’re “not interested” or are “too busy.” Others simply said the Internet was a “waste of time.”
However, almost 20 percent of non-Internet users cited a highly practical reason – it’s too expensive. This could mean that some folks view the Internet as a luxury expense they aren’t willing to pay for. It could also mean that these respondents simply don’t have the means to access the Internet.
Participants who reported lower levels of income and education said they were significantly more likely to rely on sources outside the home, such as the library, to access the Internet.
Over the years that Pew has been conducting this annual survey, the percentage of those who said they use the internet has gone up. In 1995, a mere 14 percent of Americans said they regularly accessed the Internet. By 2000, 50 percent of respondents said they were online and by 2007, 75 percent were Internet users.
The Pew survey also found that Internet users are divided by age, education level, ethnicity, and income. For the oldest age group in the study, ages 65 and up, 44 percent said they are not online. Meanwhile the youngest age group, ages 18 to 29, had the lowest percentage of non-Internet users: two.
Forty-one percent of those who didn’t graduate high school don’t go online, compared to only 4 percent of those who hold a college degree. While 14 percent of whites and 15 percent of blacks said they don’t go online, 24 percent of American Hispanics said they don’t access the Internet, regardless of what language they speak. Almost one-fourth of people with household incomes less than $30,000 per year are not online, as opposed to 4 percent of those making $75,000 or more.
Fourteen percent of these offline adults say they have used the Internet in the past, but have stopped for some unspecified reason.
When offline adults were asked if they would like to begin or start using the Internet, 8 percent said they were interested. These adults were asked if they would need assistance going online if they chose to use the Internet in the future. Only 17 percent of all non-Internet users said they could start using the Internet on their own, while 63 percent said they would need someone to help them.