August 21, 2013

3% of Americans use dial-up at home


A small share of Americans still connect to the internet at home via dial-up.

Broadband access to the internet at home has risen steadily since 2000, and the “always on” connection typically increases the frequency with which people use the internet and the variety of things they do online. Our December 2012 survey shows that 65% of Americans have broadband connections at home.

Broadband vs dial upIn June 2000, when about half of adults were online, only 3% of American households had broadband access. Now, as of December 2012, the tables have turned: 3% of Americans connect to the internet at home via dial-up.

At 5%, Hispanics are the most likely group to have dial-up internet connections at home, compared with whites (3%) and blacks (1%). Interestingly, there are no statistically notable differences tied to community type: rural residents, city dwellers, and suburbanites are equally likely to be dial-up home internet users.

In the spring of 2009, we asked adults who had dial-up internet what it would take for them to switch to a broadband connection at home. A plurality (35%) said the price would have to fall, and 17% said it would have to become available where they live. One in five (20%) said nothing would get them to change.

Perhaps they just like the sound of a dial-up connection.

For an update on Americans’ home internet connections, including home broadband and smartphone-only internet users, look for our new report coming Monday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m., ET.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Broadband, Internet Activities

  1. is the Web Coordinator at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.


  1. Steve2 years ago

    I love dial-up! For what I do, it’s fine. I have no interest in streaming videos or, for the most part, bothering with graphics at all. For the occasional video I’m interested in, I just download it. I run a text browser, and for the graphics I’d like to see, I just hit the link to them.

    It isn’t for everybody, but for me, it’s perfect.

  2. Anonymous3 years ago

    I live just out of reach of DSL my only options being dial-up, celluar based hotspot or plug-in internet devices, or costly satellite internet. I tried satellite internet once but could only afford the lowest package which had me hit with the data cap fast nor do I like the lag as I like to play on Xbox Live sometimes. I have a cellular internet source but it is grandfathered in giving me unlimited minutes, so if anything happened to it I would be royally screwed as I’d have to update my plan. I sadly see going back to dial-up eventually unless I move. I wish there was a solution for rural residents like me, though most rural people in my area have DSL (even if it is in some cases slow) as I simply live in a dead zone in-between two access points. 🙁

  3. Mr. T.3 years ago

    Hearing many complain and remain with higher speed and costly Internet. Yes the speed/cost and security risks are greater. Many secure companies still use dial-up for no need to enter customer information over questionably high speed secure Internet. As of today’s date go look at all those credit information breaches around the world! Ask were they using dial-up? You high-speed Internet users are always complaining and giving in on those never lowering of cost high-speed Internet companies. If 50% drop their high speed Internet the high-speed costs will drop, make a high-speed cost wave! Go to dial-up and pocket your income savings!

  4. Marie Skanis4 years ago

    I’d be really interested to see state-by-state numbers… I know in some places in Alaska there are just not that many options outside of dial-up.

  5. Tom Shillock4 years ago

    I do not believe that only 3% of Americans use on dialup Internet connections. I suspect that the decimal point lies another place to the right.

  6. ALPHIE4 years ago

    I’m on a super budget, no way I want to pay the high speed prices. Dial up works well if you learn to work with it. Right now I’m going to load the british news “Daily Mail” and when I get back from making a cup of coffee it will be ready for me to read!
    Also I’ve been finding that mobile versions of newspapers give information in a compressed no nonsence manner so I definitely have those book marked.
    If web page designers had paid more attention to image compression, dial up would truly be fast.

    1. Holly2 years ago

      Hello Alphie,
      I am very interested in hearing more about your use of dial-up internet. I am doing some research for a new men’s lifestyle website and would love to get your input. If you would be interested please message or email me at

  7. Discoveryellow4 years ago

    Add up the 2009 numbers and it looks like the loyalists and those without options are the 3% bastion.