Three-quarters of U.S. adults now online

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 12:00am

The number of adults who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other locations continues to grow albeit at a somewhat slower rate. In the past eight months the number of online users has reached an estimated 163 million, a four percent increase.

In research among 2,022 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone in February and April 2005, Harris Interactive found that 74 percent of adults are now online, up from 73 percent in the summer of 2004, 66 percent in the spring of 2002, 64 percent in 2001 and 57 percent in 2000. When Harris Interactive first began to track Internet use in 1995, only 9 percent of adults reported they were online.

By far the most striking change in this new Harris Interactive research is the big increase in those with broadband connections. In the spring of 2002 only 22 percent of adults who are online had broadband (including ISDN, cable, ADSL/DSL, T1 and T3 lines) connections. By October/December 2003, this had increased to 37 percent. It is now up to 54 percent of all those online.

As Internet penetration rises, the demographic profile of Internet users continues to look more like that of the nation as a whole. It is still true that more young than older people, and more affluent than low-income people, are online. But 8 percent of those online are now age 65 or over (compared to 15 percent of all adults who are 65 or over); 38 percent of those online (compared to 47 percent of all adults) did not go to college; and 16 percent have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared to 21 percent of all adults).

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