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1 In 7 American Adults Don't Go Online


The Internet dominates many of our lives - Google searching, restaurant reservations, streaming baseball games - lots of baseball games. But the Internet is not for everyone. Fifteen percent of Americans do not use the Internet, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on some of the reasons why.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Researchers are calling them offline adults - that's one in seven Americans, who don't use the Internet at all. Most of them are 65 years old or older, many live in rural areas and have incomes lower than $30,000 a year, according to Pew Research associate Kathy Zickuhr.

KATHY ZICKUHR: One of the big reasons is that they just don't feel the Internet is relevant to them, they don't think it would be useful to them. Twenty-one percent say they're just not interested, about eight percent say they're just too old to learn how to use the Internet, how to use computers; and about, yeah, about four percent, say they think it's just a waste of time.

BARCO: Pew's Internet and American Life Project surveyed more than 2,200 adults by landline and cell phones. They gave other reasons for not going online - computers are too expensive, too difficult to use, or they're worried about things like privacy, viruses, spam or hackers. Twenty-three percent of the offliners live in a household where someone else uses the Internet.

ZICKUHR: Just about 14 percent said they used to use the Internet, but no longer do.

BARCO: Zickhur says of those who do go online, one in 10 people don't have a computers at home, but access the Web through their smartphones.

According to the study, nearly everyone who goes online has broadband access. Only three percent are using a dial-up connection.


BARCO: Ah, the old dial-up.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.