Amy Gahran has a nice breakdown as to why 1 in 5 U.S. adults don’t use the Internet.
The usual reasons are cited: age and lack of income, but there are some surprising findings. U.S. home broadband pentration dropped by four percentage points from 2010 to 2011. The recession clearly is affecting people’s abilities to get online, which may serve to deepen the recession.
Not being able to get online means that these people — often unemployed — will find it harder to find jobs and get government services. So much is done online now. When I was laid off at my last job, all of my job search was conducted online. I couldn’t imagine conducting a job search in 2012 without Internet and a computer at home.
People with disabilities are also less likely to go online and have home Internet. This tells me that too many websites are not accessible. Indeed, computers themselves still need to become more accessible.
Some nuggets from Amy’s post about those who aren’t using the Internet:
Mostly they’re older — 59% of U.S. seniors don’t go online. Also, nearly 60% of U.S. adults who never completed high school don’t use the Internet. And they’re mostly poor — nearly 40% of people with an annual household income under $30,000 don’t go online. (Pew notes that people with an annual household income under $20,000 are especially unlikely to use the Internet.)
People with disabilities also are more likely to not use the Internet. One- quarter of U.S. adults live with a disability that interferes with activities of daily life — and only 54% of these people are Internet users, Pew found.