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Richest Americans Most Likely To Use Net, Own Tech Gadgets

November 25, 2010

The wealthiest Americans are the most likely to use the Internet on any given day, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

According to author Jim Jansen, 95 percent of Americans who live in households with a minimum annual income of $75,000 use the Internet at least occasionally. In comparison, only seven out of every 10 people who are part of a household that earns less than that are regular Web surfers.

In addition, 93 percent of higher-income households reported having some type of broadband connection, while only 85 percent of those earning less than $75,000 per year had access to high-speed Internet. When it came to using the Internet at home, 99 percent of the richest households reported doing so on a regular basis, while just 93 percent of those in lower brackets did so.

Approximately 86 percent of the higher-income Internet users went online daily, while only 54 percent of those earning under $75,000 annually reported doing so.

Those higher-income internet users were also more likely to engage in various activities, Jansen said in his report. Ninety-three percent used email, 80 percent accessed the news online, 88 percent had researched products online, and 37 percent had used the Internet to donate to charity. Eighty-three percent had used the Internet to make travel reservations online, while 71 percent used the Web to pay bills and three-fifths had used an online classifieds service such as Craigslist.

Furthermore, higher-income households were also more likely to own some type of cell phone (95 percent to 83 percent), a desktop computer (79 percent to 55 percent), a laptop computer (79 percent to 47 percent), an iPod or other MP3 player (70 percent to 42 percent), a video game console (54 percent to 41 percent), a tablet computer (9 percent to 3 percent), and an e-book reader (12 percent to 3 percent), according to the study.

The findings are the result of three separate telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center between December 2009 and September 2010. The first featured a sample of 2,259 adults who were at least 18 years of age, while the second had 2,252 subjects and the third included 3,001 interviews conducted over both traditional landline and cellular phones.

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