December 8, 2015

One-fifth of Americans report going online ‘almost constantly’

As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, some 21% of Americans now report that they go online “almost constantly,” according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Overall, 73% of Americans go online on a daily basis. Along with the 21% who go online almost constantly, 42% go online several times a day and 10% go online about once a day. Some 13% go online several times a week or less often. And in this survey, 13% of adults say they do not use the internet at all.

Three-quarters of Americans go online at least daily

Younger adults are in the vanguard of the constantly connected: Fully 36% of 18- to 29-year-olds go online almost constantly and 50% go online multiple times per day. By comparison, just 6% of those 65 and older go online almost constantly (and just 24% go online multiple times per day).

One-in-five Americans – and 36% of 18- to 29-year-olds – go online ‘almost constantly’This is the first time that a Pew Research Center survey has included “almost constantly” as a response option when asking about frequency of internet use among adults, so there’s no way to measure how much this group has grown over time. A recent survey of teens found that 24% of teens report going online almost constantly, nearly identical to the figure among adults. At the same time, teens are more likely than adults to go online at least daily – 92% do so, compared with 73% of adults.

And as is true for teens, adults with mobile connectivity are especially likely to be online a lot. About three-quarters of Americans use a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to tap into the internet at least occasionally. Fully 87% of these users go online daily and 27% go online almost constantly. Among Americans who don’t use a mobile device as their way of getting on the internet, 65% go online daily and just 8% report that they go online almost constantly.

Along with younger adults, some demographic groups that report going online frequently include college-educated adults, adults who live in higher-income households, and non-rural residents. Some 29% of adults with a college education or more go online almost constantly (and 89% go online daily), compared with 14% of adults with a high school education or less. And 28% of adults who have an annual household income of $75,000 or more use the internet almost constantly (91% use it daily), compared with 16% of those whose household makes less than $30,000. Adults who live in urban and suburban areas are more likely to go online almost constantly than those who live in rural areas: 23% of adults living in urban and suburban areas use the internet almost constantly, compared with 14% of rural residents.

Topics: Internet Activities

  1. Photo of Andrew Perrin

    is a research analyst focusing on internet, science and technology at Pew Research Center.


  1. Carole F.2 years ago

    Technically, my 84 year old mother does not go online at all. However, I consistently receive requests to order items or look up topics that she has gleaned from her print newspaper or TV. When I take her to appointments or across town, we use Google Maps on my iPhone to get us there and traffic information to avoid the worst delays. Recently, she started using Uber to get her to and from other appointments even though I’m the one that exercises the iPhone Uber app. And, while I might work the remote, she is the one watching the movies on her smart TV.

    So I’m wondering how many of the 13% of adults that never go online are like my mother, who doesn’t go online herself but enjoys all the benefits that being online can provide?

  2. Sharon Fisher2 years ago

    I only go online once a day. I go on about 6 am and log out by 11 pm or so.

  3. Verner Hornung2 years ago

    You have to wonder whether that $120 monthly subscription drives people to get their money’s worth from Internet connections; although if online several times a day, does this involve only a few minutes per session? Recent pop-up messages such as, “We’ve noticed you have an Ad Blocker on…” are telling Americans that pay-per-click viewing of content will probably be a norm within a few years as well. Being wired, or wireless as often the case, is a steadily more expensive proposition, yet a mandate if one wishes to be employable. We keep raising the bar in our effort to accelerate the pace of life toward whatever physiological limits may exist.

  4. Barry2 years ago

    This article espouses an antiquated notion that you have to do something to ‘go online’.

    If you have a smartphone connected to a modern network, you are by definition online ‘all the time’.

    Does that mean that 21% percent of us are looking at our phones constantly?

    Sorry kids, modems went out of fashion about 20 years ago…beeeep….booooop….khkhkhk.

  5. Li Coln2 years ago

    Could you please provide a link to the referenced Pew Research Center survey? Thank you!