June 20, 2006

Demographics, Degrees of Internet Access, and Health

Presented to a group working through questions about the differences between African American and white internet users, with a special focus on cancer survivors. The Pew Internet Project finds that the internet user population is pretty stable – about four in five adults currently have access or have been online in the past. One in five adults are “truly disconnected.” African Americans continue to lag in both basic internet access and in home broadband adoption, although there are some new data to report. Looking specifically at online discussion groups devoted to health and well-being, the audience is also stable – about half of internet users helped someone else through an illness in the past two years; one in five internet users dealt with their own illness during that time. Internet health resources’ reach has also remained stable – about one in four of these internet users dealing with health concerns within the previous two years say the internet was crucial or important during that time of illness. Broadband may be a powerful factor that could disrupt the trend and create an internet user group (and more interestingly, a content creator group) that is as diverse as our offline communities.