Internetification today

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Nowadays, technology and people are so strongly connected that you can hardly imagine life without it. The internet became an important instrument for everyone and for everything, whether it is studying, working, entertainment or more. The number of computer users in the world, and America in particular, is growing at a rapid pace, so let’s figure out who they actually are.

People have several ways of getting online: computers, tablets, laptops and smartphones, and now that we have near-constant wireless connection opportunities it is easier than ever. According to a 2013 survey on computer and internet use in the United States, 83.8 percent of American families owned computers in 2013: 78.5 percent of them had desktop or laptop computers, and 63 percent had handheld ones.

Among computer users, 74.4 percent were internet users. Of these users, 73.4 percent reported having a high-speed internet connection. Relatively young householders were the most likely to have computers and use the internet. For example, 92.1 percent of people from 15 to 34 years old had computers, and 77.7 percent of them used the internet. A slightly higher percentage (92.5 percent) of people from 35 to 44 reported computer ownership and 82.5 of them were internet users. Among older people, 86.5 percent of people between 45 and 64 used computers, while only 65.1 percent of people over 65 were computer users.

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The most common type of connection (42.8 percent) was via a cable modem. Mobile broadband took second place (33.1 percent), and DSL connection was third.

On the topic of geographic variability across the states, 25 states had rates of computer ownership above the national average, with 17 of them located in the West or Northeast. Additionally, 20 states had rates lower than the national average, and 13 of them were located in the South. These numbers were nearly the same for high-speed internet subscriptions: 18 of the 26 states with relatively high rates were located in the West or Northeast, while 13 states with relatively low rates were located in the South. Among southern states, only Virginia and Florida avoided low rates on both indicators.

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Computer ownership and internet use were higher in metropolitan areas. Most metropolitan households (85.1 percent) owned computers, and 75.2 percent of them used high-speed internet. For nonmetropolitan households, the percentage of computer ownership was lower (76.5 percent) as well as the percentage of internet use (63.1 percent).

Furthermore, 131 metropolitan areas had rates of computer ownership above the national average, with 31 of them higher by at least 5 percent. Twenty of them were located in the West and two in the South. One hundred twenty-eight metropolitan areas had rates below the national average, with 53 of them lower by 5 percent or more; the majority of these were located in the South.

Looking at high-speed internet use, 123 metropolitan areas had rates above the national average, with 59 of them higher by 5 percent or more; 25 of them were located in the West, 17 were located in the Midwest and 13 were located in the Northeast. Conversely, 141 metropolitan areas had rates below the national average, with 90 of them lower by at least 5 percent. Most of these (57) were located in the South.

Regarding ethnicity, 85.4 percent of white householders and 92.5 percent of Asian householders reported computer ownership; it was less common in black households (75.85 percent) and Hispanic households (79.7 percent). Furthermore, more white and Asian householders (77.4 percent and 86.6 percent) used the internet compared to black (61 percent) and Hispanic householders (66.7 percent). Among people with disabilities, 73.9 percent reported computer ownership versus 90.4 percent of people without a disability.

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About Pavel Prikhodko

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

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