84 Percent of Americans Now Online, But ‘Class-Related Gaps’ Persist

AMERICA ONLINE: Some statistics should always trend upwards—like the number of people connected to the Internet. The latest Pew survey on Americans’ access to the Internet pegs that figure now at 84 percent—a sizable boost from 52 percent in 2000, but flat over the previous two years.

Based on 97 surveys over the past 15 years, the report also sheds lights on “class-related gaps” in Internet access based on household income, ethnicity and educational attainment, which “has been one of the strongest indicators of use.” Currently there is a 95 percent Internet adoption rate among college graduates, versus 76 percent for high school graduates without no college degree and 66 percent for those who have not finished high school.

Source: Pew Research

Other gaps: Rural communities still trail their suburban and urban counterparts in Internet adoption, but the gap has slowly shrunk to a 6 percent difference. English-speaking Asian Americans outpace other ethnic groups in using the Internet. Government agencies, including the FCC, are surely monitoring these numbers carefully after pushing for reforms to E-Rate and other programs that subsidize broadband funding for schools and rural regions.

The one area where there's been consistent parity? Internet usage by gender.

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