Disconnected: 20% of Americans still don’t use the Internet

BuildersCloud_hero_multiple_devicesThe Internet is everywhere nowadays, from our homes to our phones and now even our glasses.

But that doesn’t mean everyone is using the web. In fact, the New York Times just came out with a report noting a somewhat surprising statistic: 20 percent of Americans still don’t use the Internet, even though 98 percent of us have access to it.

Based on my everyday life and environment — a 23-year-old city boy who writes about technology and uses it all the time — that number is tough to believe. I don’t even remember the last day I didn’t use the Internet in some way.

But I live in a highly-saturated technological area and am young — almost everyone in my age group (18-to-29) is online, according to a recent Pew Internet report. That report, which noted 85 percent of Americans using the Internet, also found that only 56 percent of those 65 years and older use the web. In terms of household income, just 76 percent of those making $30,000 or less accessed the Internet.

As Kotaku’s Jason Schreier points out, these statistics are relevant to Microsoft due to it’s recent Xbox One connection policy changes. The company ultimately reversed its always-on Internet requirements last month after a plethora of customer disapproval, but it certainly indicates a push toward an all-digital gaming world soon enough.

But beyond just gamers, is the fact that are 60 million disconnected Americans a problem? Should the government be doing more to make sure everyone knows how to use the Internet and has access? Or are there more important things to worry about?

  • Forrest Corbett

    Maybe I’m just missing it, but how was that stat calculated? My guess is that more and more people are using the internet without being aware they are using the internet. Not sure if the report accounts for that or not.

  • Don

    The government certainly should NOT “make sure everyone knows how to use the Internet…” If you’ve gone this long without using it, my tax dollars certainly don’t need to be spent teaching you about it.

  • Don

    Also, the article states that this is somehow relevant to the Xbox. C’mon. Not one of those non-internet users are going to buy a $500 gaming console.

  • thejory

    60 Million not using the internet? Very hard to believe!

  • http://khanneasunztu.wordpress.com/ KhanneaSuntzu

    I am meeting more people with a vicious hatred of “Internet” and connectivity, bordering on phobia.

  • margaret Bartley

    As a small business owner, I’m glad there is such a high percentage of Americans not using the internet. That prevents government and corporations from requiring everyone to go online for essential services, like they would be doing if internet access were more ubiquitous.

    As it is now, it is possible to do banking, get medical care, deal with taxes and social security without signing up for online access. I had to change ISPs once, and it was a nightmare trying to get all my user IDs removed from the old email, and I’m sure I didn’t get them all. It didn’t matter too much, because they were just mail servers for websites. What’s going to happen if it’s my Dept of Revenue account from Sec of State’s Office for my business or other official business?

    Once we get a threshhold of users, all those things will be online, and we will be even more vulnerable to online attacks and lack of access. We will probably also be required to have biometric IDs, as well.

    That will bode very unfortunate. As it is, if you give your credit card to someone who steals the account number, you can get a new credit card. What are you going to do when someone has stolen your digital iris scan, taken over your email account, and changed your passwords? SOL.

    So I like the fact that so many people don’t have access to the internet. It allows me to continue to register and post annual reports by mail. Slower, but much easier to keep track of.

  • Anon

    What? Is there something wrong with people not using the internet? Is it a requirement to use the internet nowadays? I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. People have the right to not use the net if they don’t want to.