15% of American Adults Don't Use the Internet - And Most of Them Never Will


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A new survey out this week from the Pew Research Center found that 15% of American adults (age 18 and older) do not use the internet or email. At all. A further 9% use the internet only in places outside their home.

Of those 15% who do not use the internet, few of them ever expect to start. A full 92% of them stated that they are "not interested" in using the internet or email at any point in the future.

“A lot of people are surprised to discover that not everyone is online,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, lead author of the report and a research associate for the Internet Project at Pew. “Most offline adults either don’t see the internet as relevant to them, or feel that it would not be worth the effort. And though many have had some experiences with the internet in the past, most non-internet users say they are not interested in going online in the future.”

The survey respondents' reasons for their internet deficiency were varied, though most boil down to simply not caring. Of the 15% who don't use the internet, 34% of them say they aren't interested, don't need it, or simply don't want it. Another 32% are physically unable to access the internet, said that they believe the internet is hard to use, or are scared of online dangers such as spam or malware. A further 19% stated that it simply costs too much to own a computer or access the internet.

Also, though they don't access the internet themselves, much of that 15% still use it in some way. 44% of them were found to have asked a family or friend to look something up for them online.

As might be expected, age is also a major factor in who is online and who is not. The Pew survey found that 44% of Americans over the age of 65 do not use the internet, making up nearly half of that 15% of adults who aren't online.