The study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project also found that another 9 percent of U.S. adults only use the Internet when they are not at home. Adults with lower levels of income and education, as well as blacks and Hispanics, are significantly more likely to rely on Internet access outside of their home, in libraries, at work or elsewhere.
Of the people who don't go online, only 8 percent want to. The rest said they are not interested.
Nearly everyone who goes online has broadband access, the report found. Only 3 percent of people who use the Internet do so using a dial-up connection.
Internet use has increased steadily since Pew began doing the survey. In 1995, only 14 percent of Americans said they went online. By 2000, half were online and by 2007, three-quarters.
As in previous years, age, income, education level and race have a lot to do with who is and isn't online. Forty-four percent of people 65 or older are not online, compared with 2 percent of those aged 18 to 29. Of people who have not graduated from high school, 41 percent don't go online, compared with 4 percent of those with a college degree.
Nearly a quarter of people with household incomes of less than $30,000 per year are offline, compared with 4 percent of those with $75,000 or more. Gender didn't seem to make a difference in whether someone went online or not. Eighty-five percent of men use the Internet, along with 84 percent of women.
Here are some of the reasons people gave for not going online:
- 34 percent think the Internet is not relevant to them - they are not interested, don't want to use it or don't need it.
- 13 percent don't have a computer, 7 percent don't have Internet access and 6 percent said it's too expensive.
- Three percent said they are worried about things such as privacy, viruses, spam or hackers.
- Four percent think it's a waste of time. That doesn't stop the rest of us, though.
- Nearly a third of people cited usability for not going online. This includes people who say they are too old or physically unable to get online because they have poor eyesight or are disabled, along with people who find it too difficult to use. Those who worry about privacy and such are also lumped into this category.
The survey of 2,252 U.S. adults was conducted from April 17 to May 19 on landline and mobile phones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.