If you feel like you’re one of the only ones who don’t use the internet, you’re not alone. There are roughly 18 million people in the United States who don’t use the internet. This is about 7% of the country’s population. Many of the people who are included in these numbers are those who are over 65 and might not understand how to use the service.
With as much technology as there is today, it doesn’t seem like there should be anyone not connected to the internet. When you think about 18 million people not using the internet, it seems as though that’s a large number and one that is a bit difficult to think about when internet providers are trying to do everything possible to get people online. If you look at the percentage of people who don’t use the internet, it almost seems as though the service is one that’s essential and that could be compared to electricity and water. Details that were released in 2015 revealed that the number of people not using the internet was twice as high as it is now. Looking back to 2000, about half of the country didn’t connect to the internet.
It might seem like 20 years is long enough to get people connected to the internet, but it’s really a short timeframe seeing as how it took almost 100 years for 90% of the country to get telephone service and a vehicle. It took roughly a quarter of the time for the internet to reach the same number of people, which says a lot about providers and how fast they have installed cables and satellite internet.
A detail that overlaps is the use of cellphones. Many people who have a cellphone also have access to the internet because of the plan that they have. About 85% of people in the country have a smartphone of some kind with 15% of those people utilizing the service as the only way to access the internet. This means that those who use their phones to access the internet don’t have a connection in the home from a provider. The percentage of people who use their phones in this way to access the internet has stayed about the same since 2016.
One of the latest surveys was in 2021 when the pandemic was sweeping across the country. There could have been more people who connected to the internet because they needed it for school or work, and leisure like streaming movies online or playing online games resulting in the increase in the number of people who have access to the internet in such a short time. There are reports that use in the home is up almost 20% since 2019, which would coincide with more people getting online because of the pandemic.
Off the Grid
Age is a primary reason why people aren’t online. They usually can’t afford it with the social security income that they have, and they might not know how to operate the equipment. Income is another reason why many people don’t have access to the internet, which is what the federal government is trying to help with as subsidies are being approved to help with monthly fees. Another reason why people aren’t connected to the internet is that they don’t understand how to use it or aren’t able to follow the details provided when they are taught to use the system.