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1 In 7 American Adults Don't Go Online

Sep 26, 2013
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Internet dominates many of our lives - Google searching, restaurant reservations, streaming baseball games - lots of baseball games. But the Internet is not for everyone. Fifteen percent of Americans do not use the Internet, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on some of the reasons why.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Researchers are calling them offline adults - that's one in seven Americans, who don't use the Internet at all. Most of them are 65 years old or older, many live in rural areas and have incomes lower than $30,000 a year, according to Pew Research associate Kathy Zickuhr.

KATHY ZICKUHR: One of the big reasons is that they just don't feel the Internet is relevant to them, they don't think it would be useful to them. Twenty-one percent say they're just not interested, about eight percent say they're just too old to learn how to use the Internet, how to use computers; and about, yeah, about four percent, say they think it's just a waste of time.

BARCO: Pew's Internet and American Life Project surveyed more than 2,200 adults by landline and cell phones. They gave other reasons for not going online - computers are too expensive, too difficult to use, or they're worried about things like privacy, viruses, spam or hackers. Twenty-three percent of the offliners live in a household where someone else uses the Internet.

ZICKUHR: Just about 14 percent said they used to use the Internet, but no longer do.

BARCO: Zickhur says of those who do go online, one in 10 people don't have a computers at home, but access the Web through their smartphones.

According to the study, nearly everyone who goes online has broadband access. Only three percent are using a dial-up connection.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIAL-UP CONNECTION)

BARCO: Ah, the old dial-up.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.