18% Of U.S. Households Have No Internet Access

    May 14, 2008

Around one-fifth of all U.S. households are without an Internet connection and have never used email, according to research firm Parks Associates.

An annual phone survey of households by Parks found 20 million households have no Internet access, making up approximately 18 percent of all U.S. households.

"Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document," said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. "These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, uses a computer."

Age and education play a role in this divide. One-half of those who have never used email are over 65, and 56 percent had no education beyond high school.

Just seven percent of the 20 million without Internet access plan to get an Internet connection within the next year. The study did find a decline in the number of households that were disconnected compared to previous years. At the end of 2006, 29 percent of households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value of the Internet.

"Internet connections have slowly increased in U.S. households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult," Barrett said.

"Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives."