FACT SHEET: Americans Increasingly Use Internet Outside the Home

FALLING THROUGH THE NET: DEFINING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE, July 1999

This report on the telecommunications and information technology gap in America provides comprehensive data on the level of access by Americans to telephones, computers, and the Internet. It includes valuable information about where Americans are gaining access, what they are doing with their online connections, and provides trendline information since 1984.

According to the report, the number of Americans accessing the Internet has grown rapidly in the last year; yet, in the midst of this general expansion, the "digital divide" between information "haves" and "have nots" continues to widen.

Overview:

As Internet use has soared over the last year, Americans are connecting to the Internet from various locations to complete more and more tasks. In addition to the 22.2% of Americans currently connected to the Internet from home, 17.0% access the Internet outside the home at places such as work, school, libraries, and/or community centers. Those groups with higher access from work tend to be the same groups with higher home usage rates, while demographic groups with lower access rates at home or work are far more likely to use the Internet at a public place.

Highlights:

22.2% of Americans have Internet access from their homes, while 17.0% use the Internet outside the home. Nearly one-third (32.7%) use the Internet from any location (at home and/or outside the home.

People without home computers are almost 1.5 times more likely than home computer owners to obtain outside Internet access through public libraries or community centers.

More than half (56.3%) of Americans who use the Internet outside the home access it from work.

The second most popular point of access outside the home is the Kindergarten-12th grade school (21.8%).

For those accessing the Internet outside home, 8.2% of Americans use public libraries as an access point.

Significant Findings:

The data suggest that Americans without access to the Internet at home or at work are making use of public resources. By providing free access to computers and the Internet, community access centers have the ability to provide minority groups, lower income, and lesser educated persons with the same information tools as other connected Americans. As the number of community access centers across the country continues to grow and the prices for home computers decrease, more Americans will gain access to the Internet and participate fully in our digital society.

        Note:   Press Contact:                          For Report Details, contact:
                Mary Hanley, (202) 482-2075             Kelly Levy, (202) 482-1880
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