Americans and Cybersecurity
The analysis in this report is based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted from March 30 to May 3, 2016, among a national sample of 1,040 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Fully 262 respondents were interviewed on landline telephones, and 778 were interviewed on cellphones, including 477 who had no landline telephone. The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cellphone random-digit-dial samples was used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who was at home. For detailed information about our survey methodology, visit: https://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/
The combined landline and cellphone samples are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity, and region to parameters from the 2013 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cellphone only or both landline and cellphone), based on extrapolations from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline phones and cellphones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with landline phones. The margins of error reported and statistical tests of significance are adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, a measure of how much efficiency is lost from the weighting procedures.
The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±3.4 percentage points. Results based on the 926 internet users1 have a margin of sampling error of ±3.6 percentage points.
The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:
Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request.
In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. Pew Research Center undertakes all polling activity, including calls to mobile telephone numbers, in compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other applicable laws.
Pew Research Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.
- Internet user is defined as those who access the internet or email at least occasionally, or those who access the internet on cellphones, tablets, or other mobile handheld devices at least occasionally. ↩