December 29, 2002

Counting on the Internet: Most find the information they seek, expect

Part 1: Expectations about Finding Information Online

Expectations about Finding Information Online

When looking at each of the four topical areas about which we inquired (government, commerce, health, and news), about two-thirds of all Americans, roughly 80% of Internet users, and 40% of non-Internet users said they would expect to find information online about these topics. This section aggregates data about expectations of online information by examining how many Americans expect to find information on the Internet in at least one of the four topic areas we asked about.  As it turns out, 84% of all Americans expect to find online information about at least one of these topics; that is nearly all Internet users (97%) and most non-Internet users (64%).

Expectations about finding online information about either government, health care, news, or commerce …

Age is the primary demographic factor in determining expectations about finding information online.  The table below reproduces the one above for Americans age 65 and older, 395 of whom were in our September 2002 sample and 22% of whom are Internet users. A slim majority (51%) of older Americans say they expect to find information in at least one of our four topical areas.  This compares with 91% of Americans under age 65 who say this and the 84% for all Americans.  Looked at differently, of the 16% of Americans who do not expect that they can find information online in the four areas, half (51%) are over age 65. 

Expectations of senior citizens about finding online information about either government, health care, news, or commerce …