Internet Usage Linked to Household Income

Analysis of several recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Projects finds stark differences in Internet use behavior between higher- and lower-income households. Some 95% of Americans who live in households earning $75,000 or more a year use the Internet at least occasionally, compared with 70% of those living in households earning less than $75,000. Findings include:

• Of those 95% of higher-income Internet users, 99% use the Web at home, compared with 93% of the Internet users in lower brackets.

• The relatively affluent are also more likely than those in lower-income households to own a variety of information and communications gear: 79% of those living in households earning $75,000 or more own laptops, compared with 47% of those living in less well-off homes; 70% of those living in higher-income households own iPods or other MP3 players, compared with 42% of those less well off.

• The most noticeable difference in online engagement between various income groups relates to their intensity of use. Some 86% of Internet users in higher-income households go online daily, compared with 54% in the lowest income bracket. Moreover, on any given day the more well-to-do Web users are more likely get online news, conduct online research for a product or service and go online to search for maps or directions.

• About 80% of online Americans in the higher income bracket get news on the Internet, compared with 60% of the Web users earning less than $30,000 per year. PRN