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, nine-in-ten American adults use the internet.
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.
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.
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.
Smartphone dependency over time
A growing share of Americans now use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. Today, roughly one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.
Who is smartphone dependent
Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, non-whites and lower-income Americans.
Find out more
Find more in-depth explorations of internet and home broadband patterns in the U.S. by following the links below.
Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 June 13, 2019
Digital gap between rural and nonrural America persists May 31, 2019
Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption May 7, 2019
10% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they? April 22, 2019
About a quarter of U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online March 14, 2018
First-time internet users: Who they are and what they do when they get online Dec. 1, 2017
The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What Are the Implications? June 6, 2017
Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults May 17, 2017
All reports and blog posts related to internet access.