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Internet Access on the Rise, According to Pew Study

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WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010 – According to a study of general Internet and phone use released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “African-Americans and Latinos continue to outpace whites in their use of data applications on handheld devices.” Among other things, the study found that whereas 80% of non-Hispanic Whites own a cell phone, 87% of both Blacks and Hispanics do. The gap in the statistics widen in areas of data usage, with nearly twice as many blacks using phones to receive instant messages as whites, and more than twice as many Hispanics as whites doing so.

The study investigated several areas regarding cell phone and internet usage. According to Pew’s statement on methodology, “This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older.”

The survey examined three areas specifically – “the current state of wireless internet usage,” “internet use and data applications using mobile phones” and “mobile access using laptops and other devices.”

“Nine in ten 18-29 year olds own a cell phone, and these young cell owners are significantly more likely than those in other age groups to engage in all of the mobile data applications we asked about in our survey.”

Among the facts the study found surrounding young voters, it was noted that “95% send or receive text messages,” “65% access the internet using their mobile phone” and “33% have posted a video online.”

The study found that cell phone internet use was particularly high among Americans with lower-income. The study notes that “17% of those earning less than $30,000 per year are cell-only wireless users, as are 20% of those who have not graduated from high school and 15% of those who have graduated high school but have not attended college,” whereas “the affluent and well-educated have higher overall levels of wireless internet use due to their much higher rates of ownership and use of laptop computers.”

With regard to the issue of internet use and data applications using mobile phones, the study found that “the use of non-voice data applications has grown significantly over the last year.” Specifically, the study noted that “More than half of mobile web users go online from their phones on a daily basis” and “Among mobile internet users, frequency of use is highest among the affluent and well-educated, as well as Latinos. Among those who go online using a handheld device 55% of English-speaking Hispanics, 52% of college graduates and 56% of those with a household income of $75,000 or more per year use their cell phone to go online several times a day.”

In dealing with mobile access using laptops and other devices, the study explained that “as of May 2010 55% of all American adults own a laptop computer,” adding that “This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began surveying laptop ownership that more than half of all adults own a laptop computer, and represents an eight percentage point increase since a similar point in 2009.”

Mytheos Holt recently graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Government and History, receiving high honors in Government. He served as a weekly columnist at the Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan University's campus-wide newspaper, and founded the Wesleyan Witness political commentary magazine. He is originally from Big Sur, Calif., and currently resides in Washington, D.C.

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