10% of Americans still don’t use the internet

Apr 24, 2019, 1:26 PM
Disconnecting from the internet...
10 percent of Americans still aren't online, according to a new study. (Photo: Photosteve101 / Flickr)
(Photo: Photosteve101 / Flickr)

1 in 10 Americans, according to a new Pew Research poll, still don’t use the internet.

It seems impossible, in this day and age, for anyone to completely disconnect — but if the study’s correct, a pretty significant fraction of our nation is going about their lives completely unaware of what’s trending on Twitter.

Who are these people? And why, after all this time, are they still staying offline?

Americans offline

Americans without internet

The percentage of Americans without internet by community type. (Source: Pew Research Center)

Generally speaking, the Americans who still are staying offline fit the same general description: they’re senior citizens, they have less than a high school education, and they live in the country.

The biggest groups of people still offline are more or less the ones you’d expect. They include:

  • 27 percent of people 65 years old or older
  • 29 percent of people without a high school education
  • 15 percent of people living in rural areas

The young, well-educated, and wealth, on the other hand, are still pretty well entirely online. The only people disconnected in those groups are:

  • 6 percent of people in suburbs
  • 2 percent of people with college degrees
  • 0 percent of people aged 18-29

To a degree, those are the demographics you might expect. Still, it’s shocking to think, even in those groups, that there are quite so many people still not checking Facebook, watching Netflix, or buying the things they need off Amazon.

A good chunk of disconnected Americans, according to the study, don’t expect to get online anytime soon. When asked why they were offline:

  • 34 percent said it was not relevant to their lives
  • 32 percent said it was too difficult to use
  • 8 percent of that group said they were “too old to learn”

As surprising as it might be to learn that 10 percent of us are still offline, however, this is still a huge change from 20 years before. In the year 2000, nearly half of all US adults weren’t on the internet; since then, that number’s gone down by about 80 percent.

More to the story

KSL Newsradio’s Todd Fooks and Andrew Hull talked about this study while they filled in for Dave & Dujanovic, and they couldn’t understand why anyone, no matter how old they are, wouldn’t be online.

“The internet is magic,” Fooks says. “You point and click and get a whole mess of bath tissues delivered to your door. David Copperfield can’t do that!”

If you missed them live on the air, you can still catch their take on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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10% of Americans still don’t use the internet