I've included an article below. If you want the whole enchilada, see the http://www.people-press.org/tech98sum.htm which is packed with statistics.
Among the more interesting ones:
-43% of adults own a computer -41% of adults use the internet (74 million Americans) -35% of adults use email -16% of adults (45% of email users) checked their email "just yesterday" -12% of adults are regular, daily users of the Internet
-20% of adults (49% of Internet users) log in ONLY from home (not work/school) -13% of adults (32% of Internet users) have bought something online
-The Internet male/female ratio is 52%-48%, close to the US ratio (48%-52%).
>The 74 million Americans who go online remain substantially younger,
>better-educated and more affluent than the U.S. population at
>large. Fully 39% of Internet users are college graduates, for example,
>compared to just 22% of all Americans. Similarly, 80% of Internet
>users are under age 50, compared to 63% of all Americans.
>Internet users lean to the Republican Party in greater numbers, while
>non-users are disproportionately Democrats. More than one-third of
>those who go online (34%) are Republicans compared to 25% who are
>Democrats. Among those who do not use the Internet, 23% are
>Republicans and 37% are Democrats. These partisan differences are
>evident even when factors like income and education are taken into
>But on some social issues, Internet users as a group are more moderate
>than Americans who do not go online. Internet users are significantly
>less favorable toward tobacco companies and the Christian Coalition,
>for example, and more favorable than non-users toward the gay rights
There's a lot of other neat stuff, like how much traffic various Internet news sites get.
I found this line the funniest:
>Overall, parents worry more about what their children might see on
>television than they do about what they might see on the Internet (35%
But how reliable is this survey? These stats make me wonder:
>Internet users are also substantially better informed than non-users,
If you don't know the Republicans are the majority party,
where have you been the last 4 years?
>particularly about high-technology news topics -- again, even when the
>higher education and income levels of Internet users are taken into
>account. For example, twice as many Internet users as non-users could
>identify Microsoft as the company involved in a federal antitrust suit
>(75% vs. 35%).
>Similarly, more Internet users than non-users knew the Republicans are
>the majority party in Congress (68% vs. 50%)
If you don't know the Republicans are the majority party, where have you been the last 4 years?
>Americans who go online also say they voted in the 1998 elections in
>greater numbers (61% among Internet users, compared to 51% among
Well, they're lying. Voter turnout was around 36% in 1998 (see www.fec.gov). Roughly 20% of adults lied in this survey. Hmm...
[ From http://pathfinder.com/AllPolitics/Latest/story.cgi/1999Jan14/176 ]
Poll: Audience for Online News Up By ANNE GEARAN Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) Weather that most universal of topics is now the most popular subject for Americans seeking news on the Internet, a poll released today found. That's happening as the audience for online news is expanding rapidly, and as that audience's tastes broaden from niche interests like election news to more general subjects like weather. The online audience is changing from an elite, computer-savvy group (typically well-educated, affluent and male) to a group that looks more like mainstream America, the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicates. The nationwide telephone survey of 3,184 adults, taken in November, found the percentage of Americans who use the Internet as a source of local news, entertainment news and weather data has increased significantly since 1996. "The popularity of general interest subjects online from weather patterns to entertainment news is growing much faster than that of political or international news," the survey authors wrote. The survey found 41 percent of adults use the Internet to some degree, and weather is the most popular online news. In 1996, 23 percent of Americans used the Internet, and news items related to technology were the top draw. Among Internet news users, 64 percent said they looked for weather information online. In 1996, 47 percent sought out such information. Use of the Internet for local news rose to 42 percent of news users, from 27 percent. The survey found women have overtaken men among newcomers to the Internet. Of people who said they began using the Internet within the previous year, 52 percent were women and 48 percent men. That's close to the breakdown of the population at large. Middle-aged and middle-income people of both sexes are also coming to the Internet in increased numbers, as are people with less than a college education. Among Internet newcomers, 40 percent never attended college, and 23 percent have household incomes below $30,000 a year. Still, the 74 million Internet users in the United States are generally younger, better-educated and more affluent than the population at large. The survey indicated 80 percent of Internet users are under age 50, compared with 63 percent of all Americans, and 39 percent of Internet users are college graduates, compared with 22 percent of the nation at large. Internet users are no more likely to distrust the government than the population at large, the survey suggested. Overall, online news consumption is up dramatically. In 1995, 4 percent of Americans went online for news at least once a week. The figure is now anywhere from 15 percent to 26 percent, based on recent Pew surveys. Among Internet users, 37 percent go online for news at least once a week, another third do so less frequently and about 30 percent said they never look for news online. Those who seek news online cited three main reasons: to get information unavailable elsewhere, for convenience and because they can search for particular subjects. More people getting more news online may mean fewer people getting their news from television, the survey found. Heavy Internet users seem to read newspapers and listen to the radio as often as those who don't use the Internet. In addition, new online users increasingly come from middle- and lower-income groups that watch more TV than other Americans. Also, new users are drawn disproportionately from younger generations that have relied primarily on television for their news, the survey authors noted. The Internet news audience generally said the Web sites of various news organizations are as accurate as those groups' traditional outlets. But 44 percent think the Internet provides a more accurate view of the world than daily newspapers or newscasts. The number of people who sought election news online grew to 11 million in 1998, up by 4 million users from 1996. But among regular Internet news users, the percentage who logged on for election information fell to 15 percent from 22 percent in 1996. That is partly due, in part, to the fact that 1996 was a presidential election year, the authors said. Among other findings: Sending and receiving electronic mail is the most popular activity online. The survey found 35 percent of all adults use e-mail, up from 19 percent in 1996. E-mail is increasingly used for personal communication. In 1995, 31 percent said it was exclusively a work tool. In 1998, 12 percent said that. Among e-mail users, 88 percent use it for both personal and work communications or exclusively for personal communication. Online shopping is up. Even before the Christmas 1998 shopping season was in full swing, 32 percent of Internet users had made a purchase via computer at some point. In 1995, just 8 percent had. (14 Jan 1999 08:22 EST)