Population explosion returns to the Internetby Jon Gordon, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Internet population is growing again after a period of stagnation, according to a new poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Nearly three out of four American adults now use the Internet regularly, according to Pew Internet researcher Mary Madden. That's up from two out of three adults a year ago.
The total size of the U.S Internet population stands at 147 million; 14 million more than in January 2005.
Still, 27 percent of Americans are not online. In its report, Pew noted that Internet use still varies with age and income. Eighty-eight percent of adults under 30 go online, compared with 32 percent for those age 65 and older. Only 53 percent of adults in households earning less than $30,000 a year use the Internet, compared with 91 percent in households with annual income exceeding $75,000.
The Pew data also shows that users are crediting their Internet use with better job performance, more fulfilling hobbies, and improved shopping experiences. The more people spend time online, the more life improvement they report, said Madden.
The telephone-based survey of 4,001 adults, conducted Feb. 15-April 6, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.