Who’s Not Online and Why?

Pete CodellaBroadband

2000px-US-NationalTelecommunicationsAndInformationAdministration-Logo.svgThe National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) most recent data confirms that the digital divide remains.  The July 2015 Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey reveals that in 2015, 27% of all U.S. households did not use the Internet at home.

Maureen Lewis, Director of Minority Telecommunications Development at the NTIA, recently published a brief on the NTIA exploring the reasons people chose not to connect at home.  Out of the 33 million households that don’t use Internet at home, 26 million households don’t use the Internet at all.

Past research shows that non-Asian minorities, people with disabilities, and people with lower incomes and low levels of educational attainment are the groups least likely to connect at home.  The 2015 survey results revealed the top reason households don’t go online was that they did not need it or had no interest.  This answer accounted for 55% on non-adopters, and has remained the top reason for not going online since the survey’s inception in 2001.  25% of non-adopters cited expense as the top reason for not connecting at home, and 7% cited their lack of a working personal computer.

The 2015 survey added a couple of new questions aimed at better understanding the demographic trends that have persisted.  First, the survey divided the leading answer that 55% of households say is the primary reason for not subscribing (they did not need it or had no interest) into two separate questions.  Of the 55%, “don’t need it” was the primary reason for 60% of non-adopters and “not interested” was the primary reason for 40% of non-adopters.  By understanding the differences between these two groups, efforts to connect non-adopters can be more targeted.

Second, respondents were asked if they would subscribe to a home connection if the cost was lowered.  Their response indicates 23% of all households that did not connect from home would purchase home service if it were more affordable.

The NTIA’s updated statistics are a part of ongoing efforts from the federal government to help get people connected and provide new economic opportunity where it is needed.  While the 2015 survey confirmed the same trends from past surveys, this new data provides a greater understanding of non-adopters.

To read the NTIA’s brief click here: