Study: 15% of U.S. adults are not online

Posted at 9:06 AM, Sep 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-26 09:06:59-04

(CNN) — Yes, they exist. And there might be more of them than you think.

Fifteen percent of adults in the United States are not online, for reasons that range from lack of interest to fear of the unknown to not being able to afford a computer, says a new survey.

And guess what? Almost all of them are OK with it.

According to the report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 92% of respondents who said they aren’t on the Internet also said they have no desire to be.

The survey this spring used phone interviews with 2,252 adults who were 18 years old or older. It has a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

As in earlier Pew studies, it appears that older Americans and those with less education are the least likely to be online. Web usage was also slightly lower among rural Americans and Hispanics.

Forty-four percent of adults 65 or older said they don’t use the Internet. By comparison, only 2% of those between 18-29 said the same.

But education was almost as strong a factor as age in the results. A full 41% of Americans who didn’t get a high school diploma said they aren’t on the Web, compared to just 4% who said they have a college degree.

By far, the most popular reason given was some version of “I just don’t care about it.” More than one-third said they are “just not interested,” “don’t need it/don’t want it,” or “think it’s a waste of time.”

Less popular, but interesting, reasons included not having a computer (13%), saying Web access is too expensive (6%) and being limited by poor eyesight or another physical disability (4%).

For all the talk recently about Web security, government snooping and the like, only 3% of respondents said they don’t go online because of worries about things like privacy, viruses, spam and hackers.

Even among the offline contingent, the Web’s broad reach was apparent.

More than 4 out of 10 of non-connected people said they’d asked a friend or family member to look something up or complete a task online for them, and nearly a quarter say they live in a household where someone else uses the Web.

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