Pew Study: Low Income and Rural Populations Less Likely to Have Internet Access

The young, college-educated and affluent are all more likely to use the Internet, with more than 90 percent of those surveyed in the 18 to 49 age range reporting regular Internet use.

The Internet has become an integral part of American life. Indeed, according to the latest Pew Internet demographics study, 84 percent of Americans have internet access.

While the percentage of Americans with Internet access has remained largely the same since 2012, an analysis of 15 years of historical data indicates that the digital divide is still a reality, particularly among low-income and rural populations.

The young, college educated and affluent are all more likely to use the Internet. In fact, more than 90 percent of those surveyed in the 18-49 age range reporting regular Internet use.

That number drops about 10 percent for Americans over 50 and less than 60 percent of seniors 65 or older are likely to use and have access to the Internet.

There are similar trends when it comes to education level. Those with a college degree were been quick to adopt the Internet, with 91 percent active online since 2006. By contrast, only 66 percent of those with less than a high school are actively using the internet, up from 55 percent in 2014.

According to the report, household income and community type are also indicators of how likely someone is to use the internet. Urban communities are more connected than suburban and rural communities. Likewise, those with an income of $75,000 or more are more connected than those making less than $30,000 annually.

The group most likely to be using the Internet is English-speaking Asian Americans, according to the report. Asian Americans have been using the Internet at a rate of 90 percent or more since 2009. Other groups have increased their internet use in more recent years, with 85 percent of whites using the Internet, 81 percent of Hispanics and only 78 percent of African-Americans using the Internet.

Check out the full report to see the historical data and find out more about the methodology.

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