Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Surprising, strange, and wonderful data

  • 88% of online Americans say the Internet plays a role in their daily routines. Of those, one-third say it plays a major role, and two-thirds say it plays a minor role. The activities they identified as most significant are communicating with family and friends and finding a wealth of information at their fingertips. 64% of internet users say their daily routines and activities would be affected if they could no longer go online. (Source: Survey December 2003)
  • Women are more likely than men to play online games: 44% of online women play games, compared to 36% of online men. Overall, 39% of internet users play games. (Source: Survey March-May 2003) Wired women are also much more likely than men to seek health information, get religious and spiritual material, and express pleasure with the role of email in their lives. (Source: Multiple surveys 2000-2004) Men are more likely than women to get news online, gets sports information, financial information, buy stocks and bonds, participate in auctions, seek material about their hobbies, patronize dating web sites, and use government web sites. (Source: Multiple surveys 2000-2004)
  • 20% of those who do not use the internet live in homes with internet connections. Many say they defer to other family members to send/receive email for them or do web searches. Some have made non-use of the internet a defiant lifestyle choice. Others are intimidated by tech-savvy family members. (Multiple surveys in 2002-03)
  • 54% of internet users belong to an online support group that helps them with health or personal problems. (Source: Survey December 2002)
  • 31% of internet users have “googled” someone they were about to meet. Some 26% of internet users have “googled” themselves. The majority said more information about them was available than they thought. Men are more inclined to do these “vanity searches” than women. (Source: Survey July 2002)
  • 44% of internet users, more than 53 million American adults, have used the internet to create content by publishing their thoughts, responding to others, posting pictures, sharing files and otherwise contributing to the explosion of content available online. (Source: Survey March-May 2003)
  • 21% of online Americans, more than 25 million people, have used the internet to track down long-lost friends or family members they had lost touch with (Source: Survey March 2000)
  • 88% of local elected officials use the Internet in the course of their official duties and many say their online activities have helped them learn more about local public opinion, stay in touch better with community groups, and encounter new voices in local civic life. (Source: Survey of mayors and other local officials July-August 2002)
  • 54 million Americans use instant messaging and a quarter of them use IM more than they use email. (Source: Survey February 2004).
  • 17% of internet users regularly go online using a wireless laptop connection; 29% of cell phone users used their phones to connect to the internet and browse or send text messages. (Source: Survey March 2004)
  • The vast majority of most Internet users (80%) and many non-users (about 40%) expect that they will be able to find reliable information online when it comes to news, health care information, e-commerce, and government. They also report they would turn first to the internet when they have questions about health, news, government resources, and products. (Source: Survey September 2002)
  • 24% of internet users went online this past spring to view some of most graphic war images that were deemed too gruesome or horrific for newspapers and television to display. (Source: Survey May-June 2004)
  • 17% of the teens who use instant messaging have use an IM to ask someone to go steady; 13% have use an IM to break up with a romantic partner. (Source: Survey: December 2000-January 2001)
  • 22% of online teens have shared their screenname AND password with a friend. (Source: Survey: December 2000-January 2001)
  • A third of online adults and a fifth of online teens say they use the internet to get information that is sensitive or embarrassing to discuss with another person.
  • 32% of internet users have created personal preferences and profiles for the information they get on web sites or from email services. The most popular customized content is news, financial information, sports, and weather. (Source: Survey February 2001)
  • As they gain more experience online, Americans become more serious in their internet use. Over time, they use the internet more for work, they spend more money on e-commerce, banking, and auctions, they pursue more activities, and they are more likely to use emails to for serious purposes such as expressing worries or seeking advice. (Source: Survey March 2001)
  • Women overtook men in America as internet users in early 2000. (Source: Survey March 2000). The current internet population is just under 51% female, though a smaller portion of women use the internet than men. (Source: Survey October 2004)
  • 81% of the online ministers and rabbis have used the internet to get information for worship services; 77% have sought information on the Bible, Torah, or other sacred texts; and 72% have gotten devotional resources. (Source: Survey of churches November 2000)
  • 38% of internet users have traded emails with spiritual content and the majority of those emails have requests for or responses to prayer requests. (Source: Survey December 2003)
  • 25% of internet users say they go online at times from some place other than home or work. (Source: Survey March–May 2003)
  • Between 30%-40% of internet users begin their hunt for health information, government services and political information using a search engine. (Source: Multiple surveys 2002-2003)
  • 54% of internet users have more than six years of online experience. (Source: May-June 2004 survey)
  • 29% of email users say they have reduced their overall use of email because of spam. And 63% of email users said that the influx of spam made them less trusting of email in general. (Source: Survey February 2004)
  • 26% of adult internet users in the U.S., more than 33 million people, have rated a product, service, or person using an online rating system. (Source: Survey May 2004)
  • Two-thirds of email users say they like email because they can stay in touch with family and friends without spending so much time talking to them. (Source: Survey March 2000)
  • Three-quarters of those who get health information online do not regularly check the source, sponsorship or timeliness of the material they find online. (Source: Survey June-August 2001).
  • 56% of online Americans do not know what a cookie is. (Source: Survey August 2000)
  • 57% of wired Americans use the homepage that was originally provided by their Internet Service Provider. (Source: Survey October 2002)

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