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The internet represents a fundamental shift in how Americans connect with one another, gather information and conduct their day-to-day lives. For more than 15 years, Pew Research Center has documented its growth and distribution in the United States. Explore the patterns of internet and home broadband adoption below.
Internet use over time
When Pew Research Center began systematically tracking Americans’ internet usage in early 2000, about half of all adults were already online. Today, 93% of American adults use the internet.
Who uses the internet
For some demographic groups – such as young adults, college graduates and those from high-income households – internet usage is near ubiquitous. Even so, adoption gaps remain based on factors such as age, income, and education.
Home broadband use over time
The proportion of American adults with high-speed broadband service at home increased rapidly between 2000 and 2010. In recent years, however, broadband adoption growth has been much more sporadic. Today, roughly three-quarters of American adults have broadband internet service at home.
Who has home broadband
As is true of internet adoption more broadly, home broadband adoption varies across demographic groups. Racial minorities and those with lower levels of education and income are less likely to have broadband service at home.
Smartphone dependency over time
There has been a steady decline of those who use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home in recent years. Today, 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.
Who is smartphone dependent
Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, lower-income Americans and those with a high school education or less.
Find out more
Find more in-depth explorations of internet and home broadband patterns in the U.S. by following the links below.
7% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they? April 2, 2021
Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021 June 3, 2021
Digital divide persists even as Americans with lower incomes make gains in tech adoption June 22, 2021
Home broadband adoption, computer ownership vary by race, ethnicity in the U.S. July 16, 2021
Home digital divides persist between rural, urban and suburban America August 19, 2021
Americans with disabilities less likely than those without to own some digital devices September 10, 2021
All reports and blog posts related to internet access.