SEPT. 11, 2017 — States on the Pacific Coast and most of those in the Northeast such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts had higher levels of broadband internet use compared to the national average (77 percent), according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report on Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2015. These tended to be the states with higher incomes compared to the national average. Utah and Colorado were also states with higher percentages of households with broadband subscription.
“High income states tend to have high levels of broadband internet use, but some places don’t fit the pattern because demographic and social differences also come into play,” said Camille Ryan, a demographer in the Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division at the Census Bureau. “The District of Columbia, for example, had high household income, while the household income in Idaho was below the national average, yet for both places, broadband subscription rate was not statistically different from the national average.”
However, states with the lowest rates of broadband internet use such as Mississippi (61 percent), Arkansas (64 percent), and New Mexico (67 percent) had lower median household incomes.
Among race and Hispanic origin groups, Asians were the most likely to have a desktop or laptop, handheld device and broadband subscription. About 80 percent reported this combination of the three key items. Sixty-five percent of whites reported all three items, compared with 55 percent of Hispanics and 49 percent of blacks.
“It’s interesting to note that households connected to the internet but without a desktop or laptop relied on a handheld devise or smartphones alone for internet connectivity,” said Ryan. Younger households were more likely to be in this group (8 percent of households with householders ages 15 to 34, versus two percent of households with householders age 65 and older).
“Low-income households had the lowest overall connectivity, but the highest proportion of “handheld only” households,” added Ryan. “Similarly, black and Hispanic households had relatively low connectivity overall but high proportions of handheld only households. As mobile devices continue to evolve and increase in popularity, it will be interesting to see what happens with this group.”
This report examines key trends and characteristics of computer and internet use using data from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey. Current Population Survey data provide historical context and data from the American Community Survey highlight more current characteristics.
Other highlights from the report using American Community Survey data:
Both computer and internet use have increased since the Current Population Survey began collecting data on computer use in the 1980s and internet use in the 1990s. The American Community Survey began collecting these data in 2013 and provides annual estimates for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 and greater. For more information on the American Community Survey sample design and other topics, visit <www.census.gov/acs/www>.