Americans who don’t use the Internet have more than just their lack of digital communication in common. They are also more likely to be rural, elderly and poor.
About 48% of the 50 million Americans who haven’t gone online in the last year live in nonmetro areas, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. In contrast, only about 15% of the overall U.S. population lives in nonmetro areas.
That means the average rural resident is three times more likely to be offline than the average urban resident.
Eighty percent of people who don’t use the Internet are lower income, and more than half of the offline population is aged 55 and up.
The figures are based on a variety of federal data sources, as analyzed by McKinsey in the report “Offline and Falling Behind: Barriers to Internet Adoption.”
Opinions vary about just how much of a world leader the United States is in online use. A Pew Research Internet Project survey from September 2013 shows about 70% of Americans aged 18 and older had broadband at home, up from 66% the year before.
An important article from the Daily Yonder diagnoses the key problems keeping rural areas from getting or taking broadband services.