US Census Bureau Releases Computer and Internet Use Report

Computer and Internet Use Report
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The US Census Bureau released a report last week titled Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2021. This report was compiled from data gathered by the bureau’s American Community Survey program.

Key Takeaways

Your Business Needs an Internet Presence

Internet use by Americans is increasing. This trend is only going to continue. You should be using the Internet because that’s where your customers are.

Mobile-Friendly is a Must

Smartphones are everywhere. Your website must be easily to read and use on a mobile device. You’re losing potential customers if your website isn’t mobile-friendly.

Don’t Ignore the Countryside

Business owners in rural areas should stop assuming they don’t need to be the Internet. The Computer and Internet Use report shows that small towns and rural areas are online.

Do people describe your area as rustic? How about bucolic, agricultural or pastoral? Do passers-through call it the sticks? Or the boondocks? You can still benefit from an Internet presence.

Survey Questions

The survey included 3 questions on Internet usage:

  • Whether household members owned or used various types of computing devices
  • Whether household members had access to the Internet
  • For households with Internet access, what type of connection was used
Questions from the US Census Bureau Computer and Internet Use in the United States survey
Image courtesy of Census.gov

Highlights from the Survey Results

95% had at least one type of computer

The survey found 95% of participating households had at least one type of computer.

Over half of the households owned at least one each of the following: a desktop or laptop computer, tablet and smartphone,

For the survey, computing devices includes desktop computers, notebooks or laptops, tablets, smartphones and other smart devices.

When this question was first asked in 2013, only 84% of households had a computing device of any type. This is a 13% increase.

Not surprisingly, households with higher incomes and education levels are more likely to own multiple computing devices.

90% of all households had broadband subscription

A broadband subscription allows for high-speed internet access. The survey considered anything other than dial-up service as broadband. Broadband access grew by 22% since 2013.

Smartphones were the most common device used

90% of all households owned at least one smartphone

81% own a deskop or laptop computers

Only 64% of households have a tablet

Rural Lags but Isn’t Far Behind

As you might expect, computer ownership and Internet usage is higher in urban and suburban areas than in rural areas. But you might be surprised by the numbers:

More than 93% of rural households own a computer. In 12 states, there is no measurable differences in computer ownship between rural and urban households. Two northeastern had higher computer ownership in rural areas.

Almost 87% of rural households have a broadband subscription.

Additional Information

The Computer and Internet Use report breaks down the household data by various demographics, including but not limited to age, race, household income, rural vs urban and more. Please use the links below to read more about the survey and download the report.

Visit this link to download the report

View the press release on Census.gov.

Learn more about the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey program

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