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.