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Fact Sheet

January 12, 2017

Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet

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    The internet represents a fundamental shift in how Americans connect with one another, gather information and conduct their day-to-day lives. For more than 15 years, Pew Research Center has documented its growth and distribution in the United States. Explore the patterns of internet and home broadband adoption below.

    Internet use over time

    When Pew Research Center began systematically tracking Americans’ internet usage in early 2000, about half of all adults were already online. Today, roughly nine-in-ten American adults use the internet.

    Year U.S. adults
    2000 52%
    2001 55%
    2002 59%
    2003 61%
    2004 63%
    2005 68%
    2006 71%
    2007 74%
    2008 74%
    2009 76%
    2010 76%
    2011 79%
    2012 83%
    2013 84%
    2014 84%
    2015 86%
    2016 88%

    Pew Research Center

    Who uses the internet

    For some demographic groups – such as young adults, college graduates and those from high-income households – internet usage is near ubiquitous. Even so, adoption gaps remain based on factors such as age, income, education and community type.

    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Education
    • Community

    Home broadband use over time

    The proportion of American adults with high-speed broadband service at home increased rapidly between 2000 and 2010. In recent years, however, broadband adoption growth has been much more sporadic. Today, roughly three-quarters of American adults have broadband internet service at home.

    U.S. adults
    3/31/2000 1%
    3/1/2001 6%
    9/10/2001 7%
    9/19/2001 7%
    10/1/2001 6%
    10/7/2001 6%
    10/18/2001 8%
    11/18/2001 8%
    12/23/2001 9%
    1/31/2002 9%
    5/19/2002 11%
    7/26/2002 11%
    10/6/2002 15%
    10/27/2002 12%
    11/24/2002 15%
    12/22/2002 12%
    3/24/2003 15%
    3/25/2003 16%
    5/20/2003 16%
    6/24/2003 16%
    8/3/2003 17%
    12/14/2003 19%
    3/1/2004 24%
    3/17/2004 25%
    6/17/2004 23%
    7/3/2004 25%
    11/22/2004 26%
    11/30/2004 25%
    2/9/2005 29%
    3/21/2005 29%
    6/7/2005 33%
    12/8/2005 37%
    12/31/2005 36%
    2/6/2006 41%
    3/28/2006 42%
    4/6/2006 42%
    8/31/2006 43%
    12/4/2006 46%
    12/30/2006 44%
    9/5/2007 51%
    12/2/2007 54%
    1/13/2008 51%
    5/11/2008 54%
    8/10/2008 58%
    8/31/2008 57%
    12/4/2008 56%
    12/20/2008 55%
    4/19/2009 62%
    6/21/2009 62%
    9/14/2009 62%
    12/27/2009 59%
    1/19/2010 61%
    5/30/2010 64%
    9/13/2010 60%
    11/24/2010 60%
    12/21/2010 62%
    5/22/2011 60%
    8/26/2011 62%
    1/8/2012 67%
    2/19/2012 65%
    4/3/2012 66%
    11/10/2012 68%
    12/9/2012 65%
    5/19/2013 70%
    9/30/2013 70%
    4/12/2015 66%
    7/12/2015 67%
    11/15/2015 67%
    4/4/2016 70%
    11/6/2016 73%

    Pew Research Center

    Who has home broadband

    As is true of internet adoption more broadly, home broadband adoption varies across demographic groups. Racial minorities, older adults, rural residents, and those with lower levels of education and income are less likely to have broadband service at home.

    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Education
    • Community

    Smartphone dependency over time

    As the adoption of traditional broadband service has slowed in recent years, a growing share of Americans now use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. Today just over one-in-ten American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.

    U.S. adults
    2013 8%
    2015 13%
    2016 12%

    Pew Research Center

    Who is smartphone dependent

    Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, non-whites and lower-income Americans.

    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Income
    • Education
    • Community

    Find out more

    Find more in-depth explorations of home broadband patterns in the U.S. by following the links below.

    13% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they? Sept. 7, 2016
    Home Broadband 2015: Barriers to broadband adoption Dec. 21, 2015
    Social Media Usage: 2005-2015 Oct. 8, 2015

    All reports and blog posts related to internet access.

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