Four in Five US Adults Go Online – Usage, Users Profiled

November 5, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Household Income | Youth & Gen X

The number of adults who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other locations continues to grow at a steady rate, having increased 10% in the past year to an estimated 178 million* – or nearly four out of five US adults – according to the latest Harris Poll.

Shortcuts to tables referenced in this article: 

  1. Proportions of US adults who are PC and online users, 1995-2007
  2. Number of US adults online, 1995-2007
  3. Locations from which US users go online and for how long per week, 1995-2007
  4. US online adults’ demographic profile

Harris Interactive found that 79% of adults are now online, up from 77% in February/April 2006, 74% in February/April 2005, 66% in the spring of 2002, 64% in 2001, and 57% in Spring of 2000.


When Harris Interactive first began to track Internet use in 1995, only 9% of adults reported they went online – that is, just 17.5 million people, according to Harris.


Time Online, Access at Home & Work Increased

The amount of time that people are spending online has also risen. The average number of hours per week that people are spending online is now 11 hours, up from 9 hours last year and 8 hours in 2005.


Home, Work access is also up:

  • The proportion of adults who are now online at home has risen to 72%, up from 70% in 2006 and 66% in the spring of 2005.
  • The percentage of those online at work has also risen, now at 37%, and up from 35% in 2006.
  • The largest increase is among those adults who are online at a location other than their home or work: up from 22% in 2006 to 31% today.

Online Demographics Looking Like US as a Whole


As internet penetration continues to grow, the demographic profile of Internet users continues to look more like that of the nation as a whole. It is still true, however, that more young than older people, and more affluent than low-income people, are online:

  • 9% of those online are now age 65 or over (compared with 16% of all adults who are 65 or over).
  • 39% of those online (compared with 47% of all adults) did not attend at least some college.
  • 13% have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared with 17% of all adults).

* Based on July 2006 U.S. Census estimate released January 2007 (225,600,000 total U.S. adults aged 18 or over).

About the data: The Harris Poll was conducted by telephone within the United States in July 2007 (July 10 and 16, 2007) and October 2007 (October 16 and 22, 2007) among 2,062 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, number of adults in the household, size of place (urbanicity) and number of phone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

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