"Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013 (American Community Survey Reports)"

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Computer and Internet Use
in the United States: 2013
American Community Survey Reports
By Thom File and Camille Ryan
Issued November 2014
ACS-28
INTRODUCTION
and Internet access since 1997. While these estimates
remain useful, particularly because of the historical con-
For many Americans, access to computers and high-speed
text they provide, the inclusion of computer and Internet
Internet connections has never been more important. We
questions in the ACS provides estimates at more detailed
use computers and the Internet to complete schoolwork,
levels of geography. The CPS is based on a sample of
locate jobs, watch movies, access healthcare information,
approximately 60,000 eligible households and estimates
and find relationships, to name but a few of the ways that
are generally representative only down to the state
we have grown to rely on digital technologies.
Just as our
1
level.
Computer and Internet data from the ACS, based
3
Internet activities have increased, so too have the num-
on a sample of approximately 3.5 million addresses, are
ber of ways that we go online. Although many American
available for all geographies with populations larger than
households still have desktop computers with wired
65,000 people and will eventually become available for
Internet connections, many others also have laptops,
most geographic locations across the country.
4
smartphones, tablets, and other devices that connect
people to the Internet via wireless modems and fixed
This report provides household and individual level
wireless Internet networks, often with mobile broadband
information on computer and Internet use in the United
data plans.
States. The findings are based on data collected in
the 2013 ACS, which included three relevant ques-
As part of the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act,
tions shown in Figure 1.
5
Respondents were first asked
the U.S. Census Bureau began asking about computer and
whether anyone in the household owned or used a
Internet use in the 2013 American Community Survey
desktop computer, a handheld computer, or some other
(ACS).
Federal agencies use these statistics to measure
2
type of computer. They were then asked whether anyone
and monitor the nationwide development of broadband
connected to the Internet from their household, either
networks and to allocate resources intended to increase
with or without a subscription. Finally, households who
access to broadband technologies, particularly among
indicated connecting via a subscription were asked to
groups with traditionally low levels of access. State and
identify the type of Internet service used, such as a DSL
local governments can use these statistics for similar
or cable-modem service.
6
purposes. Understanding how people in specific cities and
towns use computers and the Internet will help businesses
This report begins with a summary profile of com-
and nonprofits better serve their communities as well.
puter and Internet use for American households and
The Census Bureau has asked questions in the Current
In some instances, CPS estimates are representative for certain large
3
metropolitan areas.
Population Survey (CPS) about computer use since 1984
4
See the “Source of the Data” section located in the back of this report
for more information on future ACS data on computer and Internet use.
For more information, see <www.ntia.doc.gov/report/2013
For more background and the exact wording of the computer and
1
5
/exploring-digital-nation-americas-emerging-online-experience> and
Internet questions, please visit <www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads
<www.census.gov/hhes/computer/files/2012/Computer_Use
/QbyQfact/computer_internet.pdf>.
_Infographic_FINAL.pdf>.
6
DSL stands for “Digital Subscriber Line,” which is a type of Internet
For more background on the ACS, please visit <www.census.gov
connection that transmits data over phone lines without interfering with
2
/acs/www/>.
voice service.
U.S. Department of Commerce
Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
census.gov
Computer and Internet Use
in the United States: 2013
American Community Survey Reports
By Thom File and Camille Ryan
Issued November 2014
ACS-28
INTRODUCTION
and Internet access since 1997. While these estimates
remain useful, particularly because of the historical con-
For many Americans, access to computers and high-speed
text they provide, the inclusion of computer and Internet
Internet connections has never been more important. We
questions in the ACS provides estimates at more detailed
use computers and the Internet to complete schoolwork,
levels of geography. The CPS is based on a sample of
locate jobs, watch movies, access healthcare information,
approximately 60,000 eligible households and estimates
and find relationships, to name but a few of the ways that
are generally representative only down to the state
we have grown to rely on digital technologies.
Just as our
1
level.
Computer and Internet data from the ACS, based
3
Internet activities have increased, so too have the num-
on a sample of approximately 3.5 million addresses, are
ber of ways that we go online. Although many American
available for all geographies with populations larger than
households still have desktop computers with wired
65,000 people and will eventually become available for
Internet connections, many others also have laptops,
most geographic locations across the country.
4
smartphones, tablets, and other devices that connect
people to the Internet via wireless modems and fixed
This report provides household and individual level
wireless Internet networks, often with mobile broadband
information on computer and Internet use in the United
data plans.
States. The findings are based on data collected in
the 2013 ACS, which included three relevant ques-
As part of the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act,
tions shown in Figure 1.
5
Respondents were first asked
the U.S. Census Bureau began asking about computer and
whether anyone in the household owned or used a
Internet use in the 2013 American Community Survey
desktop computer, a handheld computer, or some other
(ACS).
Federal agencies use these statistics to measure
2
type of computer. They were then asked whether anyone
and monitor the nationwide development of broadband
connected to the Internet from their household, either
networks and to allocate resources intended to increase
with or without a subscription. Finally, households who
access to broadband technologies, particularly among
indicated connecting via a subscription were asked to
groups with traditionally low levels of access. State and
identify the type of Internet service used, such as a DSL
local governments can use these statistics for similar
or cable-modem service.
6
purposes. Understanding how people in specific cities and
towns use computers and the Internet will help businesses
This report begins with a summary profile of com-
and nonprofits better serve their communities as well.
puter and Internet use for American households and
The Census Bureau has asked questions in the Current
In some instances, CPS estimates are representative for certain large
3
metropolitan areas.
Population Survey (CPS) about computer use since 1984
4
See the “Source of the Data” section located in the back of this report
for more information on future ACS data on computer and Internet use.
For more information, see <www.ntia.doc.gov/report/2013
For more background and the exact wording of the computer and
1
5
/exploring-digital-nation-americas-emerging-online-experience> and
Internet questions, please visit <www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads
<www.census.gov/hhes/computer/files/2012/Computer_Use
/QbyQfact/computer_internet.pdf>.
_Infographic_FINAL.pdf>.
6
DSL stands for “Digital Subscriber Line,” which is a type of Internet
For more background on the ACS, please visit <www.census.gov
connection that transmits data over phone lines without interfering with
2
/acs/www/>.
voice service.
U.S. Department of Commerce
Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
census.gov
HIGHLIGHTS
Figure 1.
In 2013, 83.8 percent of U.S. households reported
2013 ACS Computer and Internet Use
computer ownership, with 78.5 percent of all
Questions
households having a desktop or laptop computer,
and 63.6 percent having a handheld computer
(Table 1).
In 2013, 74.4 percent of all households reported
Internet use, with 73.4 percent reporting a high-
speed connection (Table 1).
Household computer ownership and Internet use
were most common in homes with relatively young
householders, in households with Asian or White
householders, in households with high incomes, in
metropolitan areas, and in homes where house-
holders reported relatively high levels of educa-
tional attainment (Table 1).
9
Patterns for individuals were similar to those
observed for households with computer owner-
ship and Internet use tending to be highest among
the young, Whites or Asians, the affluent, and the
highly educated (Table 2).
The most common household connection type was
via a cable modem (42.8 percent), followed by
mobile broadband (33.1 percent), and DSL con-
nections (21.2 percent). About one-quarter of all
households had no paid Internet subscription (25.6
percent), while only 1.0 percent of all households
reported connecting to the Internet using a dial-up
connection alone (Table 3).
Of the 25 states with rates of computer ownership
above the national average, 17 were located in
either the West or Northeast. Meanwhile, of the 20
states with rates of computer ownership below the
national average, more than half (13) were located
in the South (Table 4).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey.
Of the 26 states with rates of high-speed Internet
subscriptions above the national average, 18 were
located in either the West or Northeast. Meanwhile,
individuals, followed by a section addressing the types
of the 20 states with rates of high-speed Internet
of Internet connections households use.
The final sec-
7, 8
subscriptions below the national average, 13 were
tion presents more detailed geographic results for both
located in the South (Table 4).
states and metropolitan areas.
Overall, 31 metropolitan areas had rates of com-
puter ownership above the national average by at
least 5 percentage points. Of these metropolitan
In this report, the term “computer ownership” will be used for the
7
areas, most were located in the West, while only 2
sake of brevity, although the data refer to households whose members
were located in the South (Figure 5).
own or use a computer.
When “Internet use” is discussed, the reported percentage refers
8
to households with a subscription to an Internet service plan. About
4.2 percent of households reported home Internet use without a sub-
scription, and in this report, these households are not included in the
Although the ACS gathers data for Puerto Rico, this report does not
9
Internet use estimates.
include discussion of those estimates.
2
U.S. Census Bureau
Overall, 59 metropolitan areas had rates of high-
CHARACTERISTICS OF HOUSEHOLD AND
INDIVIDUAL COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE
speed Internet use above the national average by
at least 5 percentage points. Of these metropoli-
Previous Census Bureau reports have examined data
tan areas, 25 were located in the West, 17 in the
from the CPS to show that household computer owner-
Midwest, and 13 in the Northeast. Only 4 metro-
ship and Internet use have both increased steadily over
politan areas in the South had high-speed Internet
rates at least 5 percentage points above the
national average (Figure 6).
Table 1.
Computer and Internet Use for Households: 2013
(In thousands. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions,
see www.census.gov/acs/www)
Household with
Household with
a computer
Internet use
With
With
Household characteristics
Desktop or
some
high-speed
laptop
Handheld
Internet
Total
Internet
households
Total
computer
computer
subscription
connection
1
1
Total households . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
116,291
83 .8
78 .5
63 .6
74 .4
73 .4
Age of householder
15–34 years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
22,331
92 .1
82 .1
83 .3
77 .7
77 .4
35–44 years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
20,745
92 .5
86 .4
80 .7
82 .5
81 .9
45–64 years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
46,015
86 .8
82 .7
65 .2
78 .7
77 .6
65 years and older . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
27,201
65 .1
62 .3
31 .8
58 .3
56 .3
Race and Hispanic origin of householder
White alone, non-Hispanic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
80,699
85 .4
81 .4
63 .4
77 .4
76 .2
Black alone, non-Hispanic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
13,816
75 .8
66 .3
58 .9
61 .3
60 .6
Asian alone, non-Hispanic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4,941
92 .5
90 .0
78 .6
86 .6
86 .0
Hispanic (of any race) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
14,209
79 .7
70 .0
63 .7
66 .7
65 .9
Limited English-speaking household
No . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
111,084
84 .7
79 .6
64 .6
75 .5
74 .4
Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5,207
63 .9
54 .9
43 .7
51 .4
50 .6
Metropolitan status
Metropolitan area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
98,607
85 .1
79 .9
65 .9
76 .1
75 .2
Nonmetropolitan area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17,684
76 .5
70 .6
51 .1
64 .8
63 .1
Household income
Less than $25,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
27,605
62 .4
53 .9
39 .6
48 .4
47 .2
$25,000–$49,999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
27,805
81 .1
74 .0
55 .2
69 .0
67 .6
$50,000–$99,999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
34,644
92 .6
88 .4
71 .9
84 .9
83 .8
$100,000–$149,999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
14,750
97 .1
95 .1
84 .5
92 .7
92 .1
$150,000 and more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
11,487
98 .1
96 .8
90 .2
94 .9
94 .5
Region
Northeast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
20,937
84 .1
79 .9
62 .8
76 .8
76 .0
Midwest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
26,161
83 .1
77 .9
61 .2
73 .4
72 .1
South . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
43,399
82 .2
76 .0
63 .2
71 .7
70 .7
West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25,793
86 .8
82 .0
67 .4
78 .1
77 .1
Total 25 years and older . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
111,700
83 .5
78 .5
62 .8
74 .5
73 .5
Educational attainment of householder
Less than high school graduate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
12,855
56 .0
47 .2
36 .5
43 .8
42 .7
High school graduate (includes equivalency) . . . . . . . .
28,277
73 .9
66 .9
48 .5
62 .9
61 .4
Some college or associate’s degree . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
34,218
89 .0
83 .9
67 .0
79 .2
78 .0
Bachelor’s degree or higher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
36,349
95 .5
93 .5
79 .3
90 .1
89 .4
About 4 .2 percent of all households reported household Internet use without a paid subscription . These households are not included in this table .
1
Note: Handheld computers include smart mobile phones and other handheld wireless computers . High-speed Internet indicates a household has Internet
service type other than dial-up alone .
For a version of Table 1 with margins of error, please see Appendix Table A at <www .census .gov/hhes/computer/> .
Source: U .S . Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey .
3
U.S. Census Bureau
time.
For example, in 1984, only
and 74.4 percent for household
handheld wireless computer.
10
11
8.2 percent of all households had
Internet use (Table 1).
For Internet use, 73.4 percent of
a computer, and in 1997, 18.0 per-
The estimates in this report (which may
In 2013, 78.5 percent of all house-
11
cent of households reported home
be shown in maps, text, figures, and tables)
holds had a desktop or laptop
are based on responses from a sample of the
Internet use. This report shows
population and may differ from actual values
computer, while 63.6 percent
that, in 2013, these estimates
because of sampling variability or other fac-
reported a handheld computer,
tors. As a result, apparent differences between
had increased to 83.8 percent for
such as a smartphone or other
the estimates for two or more groups may not
household computer ownership
be statistically significant. Unless otherwise
noted, all comparative statements have under-
For more information, see <www.census
gone statistical testing and are significant at
10
.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-569.pdf>.
the 90 percent confidence level.
Figure 2.
Percentage of Households With Computers and Internet Use: 2013
(Data based on sample. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions,
see www.census.gov/acs/www/)
Computer ownership
Internet use
Age of householder
92.1
15–34 years
77.7
92.5
35–44 years
82.5
86.8
45–64 years
78.7
65.1
65 years and older
58.3
Race and Hispanic
origin of householder
85.4
White alone non-Hispanic
77.4
75.8
Black alone non-Hispanic
61.3
92.5
Asian alone non-Hispanic
86.6
79.7
Hispanic (of any race)
66.7
Household income
62.4
Less than $25,000
48.4
81.1
$25,000 to $49,999
69.0
92.6
$50,000 to $99,999
84.9
97.1
$100,000 to $149,999
92.7
98.1
$150,000 and more
94.9
Note: About 4.2 percent of all households reported household Internet use without a paid subscription. These households are not
included in this figure.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey.
4
U.S. Census Bureau
households reported a high-speed
percent of homes with an Asian
ownership and Internet use among
Internet connection.
householder. Similar differences
individuals, as employed people
12
existed for home Internet use, with
reported household computer own-
Although household computer
Black householders (61.3 percent)
ership (92.7 percent) and house-
ownership was consistently higher
and Hispanic householders (66.7
hold Internet use (84.1 percent)
than household Internet use, both
percent) reporting Internet use at
more frequently than the unem-
followed similar patterns across
lower levels than White house-
ployed (87.1 percent for computer
demographic groups. For example,
holders (77.4 percent) and Asian
ownership and 74.2 percent for
computer ownership and Internet
householders (86.6 percent).
Internet use, respectively).
14
use were most common in homes
with relatively young household-
Other groups reported consistently
TYPE OF INTERNET
ers, and both indicators dropped
lower levels of both computer
CONNECTION
off steeply as a householder’s age
ownership and Internet use as
Just as with computer owner-
increased. Figure 2 shows that 92.5
well, including households with
ship and Internet use, household
percent of homes with a house-
low incomes, those located outside
level differences existed for the
holder aged 35 to 44 had a com-
of metropolitan areas, and homes
methods that households used to
puter, compared with 65.1 percent
where the householder reported a
access the Internet.
of homes with a householder aged
relatively low level of educational
65 or older. Similarly, 82.5 percent
attainment. The contrast between
The most common household
of homes with a householder aged
regions was not particularly large,
connection type was via a cable
35 to 44 reported Internet use,
but households in the West did have
modem (42.8 percent), followed
compared with 58.3 percent with a
the highest rates of both computer
by mobile broadband (33.1 per-
householder aged 65 or older.
ownership (86.8 percent) and
cent), and DSL connections (21.2
Internet use (78.1 percent), while
percent). About one-quarter of all
Similar differences were observed
households in the South had the
households had no paid Internet
for race and Hispanic-origin groups,
lowest rates on both indicators (82.2
subscription at all, while only 1.0
as computer ownership and Internet
percent for computer ownership and
percent of all households reported
use were less common in Black and
71.7 percent for Internet use).
connecting to the Internet using a
Hispanic households than in White
dial-up connection (Figure 3).
15, 16
and Asian households.
In 2013,
Patterns for individuals were similar
13
75.8 percent of homes with a Black
to those observed for households,
Variation also existed across
householder and 79.7 percent of
with computer ownership and
groups for the types of connections
homes with a Hispanic householder
Internet use tending to be high-
people used to go online, but in
reported computer ownership, com-
est among the young, Whites and
general, these patterns were similar
pared with 85.4 percent of homes
Asians, and the highly educated
to overall computer ownership and
with a White householder and 92.5
(Table 2). Individual computer own-
Internet use trends. For example,
ership and Internet use were also
among users of the most common
strongly associated with disability
type of Internet connection, cable
High-speed Internet use indicates that a
12
status, as individuals without a
household has an Internet service type other
modem service, use tended to be
than dial-up alone. This includes DSL, cable
disability were more likely to report
highest among the young, Whites
modem, fiber-optic, mobile broadband, and
living in a home with computer
satellite Internet services.
or Asians, and the affluent, just as
Federal surveys now give respondents
13
ownership (90.4 percent) and
with overall computer ownership
the option of reporting more than one race.
Internet use (81.1 percent) than
Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race
and Internet use (Table 3).
group are possible. A group such as Asian
individuals with disabilities, 73.9
may be defined as those who reported Asian
percent of whom reported house-
and no other race (the race-alone or single-
race concept) or as those who reported Asian
hold computer ownership and 63.8
regardless of whether they also reported
percent of whom reported living in
another race (the race-alone-or-in-combination
concept). The body of this report (text, fig-
a home with Internet use.
ures, and text tables) shows data for people
The estimate of no Internet includes
15
who reported they were the single race
households without any Internet use at home
Not surprisingly, labor force status
White and not Hispanic, people who reported
and households connecting without a paid
also impacted rates of computer
the single race Black and not Hispanic, and
subscription.
people who reported the single race Asian
Dial-up service uses a regular telephone
16
and not Hispanic. Use of the single-race popu-
For both computer ownership and Inter-
line to connect to the Internet and does not
14
lations does not imply that it is the preferred
net use, Asian household rates were statisti-
allow users to be online and use the phone at
method of presenting or analyzing data.
cally higher than for White households.
the same time.
5
U.S. Census Bureau
Page of 16