NEWS/POLL: Internet statistics

Han Huang (
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 10:28:52 -0500

I've included an article below. If you want the whole enchilada, see the 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%
>vs. 23%)

But how reliable is this survey? These stats make me wonder:

>Internet users are also substantially better informed than non-users,
>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 Roughly 20% of adults lied in this survey. Hmm...

-Han Huang


[ From ]

                  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)