About a quarter of U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online
As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, 26% of American adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21% in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January 2018.
Overall, 77% of Americans go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 26% who go online almost constantly, as well as 43% who say they go online several times a day and 8% who go online about once a day. Some 11% go online several times a week or less often, while 11% of adults say they do not use the internet at all.
Adults with mobile connectivity are especially likely to be online a lot. Among mobile internet users – the 83% of Americans who use the internet at least occasionally using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device – 89% go online daily and 31% go online almost constantly. Among Americans who go online but not via a mobile device, by comparison, 54% go online daily and just 5% say they go online almost constantly.
Younger adults are at the vanguard of the constantly connected: Roughly four-in-ten 18- to 29-year-olds (39%) now go online almost constantly and 49% go online multiple times per day. By comparison, just 8% of those 65 and older go online almost constantly and just 30% go online multiple times per day.
Americans ages 30 to 49 are now about as likely as younger adults to use the internet almost constantly (36% versus 39%). The share of 30- to 49-year olds who say this has risen 12 percentage points since 2015. Meanwhile, the share of constantly online Americans ages 50 to 64 has risen from 12% to 17%.
Other demographic groups that report going online frequently include college-educated adults, black adults, adults who live in higher-income households and non-rural residents.
Some 34% of adults with a college education or more go online almost constantly (and 92% go online daily), compared with 20% of adults with a high school education or less. At the same time, roughly four-in-ten blacks (37%) report using the internet almost constantly, compared with 30% of Hispanics and 23% of whites. The share of blacks who are almost constantly online has risen 14 points since 2015, while the share of Hispanics who say this has gone up by 11 points. Among whites, there has been little change.
While 35% of adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more use the internet almost constantly (and 91% use it daily), this is true for just 24% of those making 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: 32% of adults living in urban areas and 27% living in suburban areas say this, compared with 15% of rural residents.
Note: This is an update of a post originally published on Dec. 8, 2015.