Broadband Penetration Rises to 70% of American Adults

August 27, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Digital | Hispanic | Household Income | Mobile Phone | Youth & Gen X

Pew-US-Home-Broadband-Dial-Up-Adoption-Trends-Aug2013As of May 2013, 7 in 10 Americans aged 18 and older access the internet at home via a high-speed broadband connection, according to [pdf] new study results from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. That’s up 4% points in a little over a year, and represents the highest level of broadband penetration to date.

Looking at the demographic breakdown of broadband access, the Pew study reveals that:

  • Whites (74%) are more likely to have home broadband access than blacks (64%) and Hispanics (53%);
  • Penetration rates are almost twice as high in the 18-29 (80%) and 30-49 (78%) age groups as in the 65+ group (43%);
  • 89% of college graduates have broadband access at home, versus just 37% of respondents without a high school diploma;
  • Broadband penetration is far higher among those with a household income (HHI) of at least $75,000 (88%) than those with an HHI of less than $30,000 (54%); and
  • 62% of rural Americans have broadband access, as do 70% of urban respondents and 73% of suburban adults.

Pew’s study also looks at the percentage of Americans who use a smartphone to connect to the internet, finding that 46% of adults have both a broadband connection and a smartphone and 10% have a smartphone but no broadband connection, relying only on their device to connect to the internet. The researchers note that counting smartphone internet access in some instances actually exacerbates the broadband penetration differences outlined above. For example, counting smartphone access results in 95% of 18-29-year-olds having home broadband and/or a smartphone, compared to just 46% of the 65+ group.

Interestingly, though, counting smartphone internet access blurs the gaps when sorting by race and ethnicity, education attainment and household income.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans accessing the internet at home via dial-up has steadily dropped over the years, though it has remained flat in the past couple of years at 3%.

Rising broadband penetration rates are coming at a time when pay-TV subscriptions appear to be waning, with subscriptions to these services moving in opposite directions. Currently, roughly 86% of US households pay for a multi-channel video service.

About the Data: The results in the report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older.

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