Huge Number of Americans Do Not Care About or Want Internet

24/7 Wall St.

Imagine a world in which Americans do not have an Internet connection because they don't want one. That world seems improbable, but it exists nonetheless. The primary reason is that many people in the United States do not think the Internet is necessary or relevant to them. In a period when the government believes people have to be online to keep well-informed and connected to society, many people reject those things as inconsequential. The dream of a country in which the Internet is a sort of uniting force is dead, and it was never really alive.

According to new data on who is online from the Pew Internet & American Life project:

As of May 2013, 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email.

Asked why they do not use the internet:

  • 34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.
  • 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
  • 19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
  • 7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.

The federal government and experts in education have said on a number of occasions that poverty was a critical gating factor to Internet use. Due to this, perhaps the government should make the Internet available to everyone. One of the important by-products of being online, particularly for the poor, is that access to education and information is critical to lifting people out of poverty and intellectual isolation. But the cost of the Internet and PCs sits well down the list of the Pew study.

The argument about and analysis of the reasons for universal Internet access can be turned on their head, because so many Americans just do not care.


View Comments (124)

Recommended for You

  • The Filthy-Rich 50: Meet the richest person in each U.S. state

    They’re not all billionaires, but they’re probably richer than you.

  • Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer, dies at 82, report says

    Oscar de la Renta, the fashion designer whose red carpet gowns and evening wear made him a favorite with everyone from luminaries of the stage and screen to first ladies, died Monday. De la Renta, who was born in the Dominican Republic, designed dresses for numerous first ladies, including Jackie…

    Fox News from RSS19 mins ago
  • Couple worried whether they can retire in four years

    Chris Mulready and Dan Phelan, of Seattle, are habitual savers with steady, well-paying jobs, but a major life decision continued to haunt them. Mulready, who turns 51 this month, and Phelan, 63, filled out various retirement work sheets and sought the advice of financial planners. The numbers were…

    The Seattle Times from RSS
  • You Can Ruin Your Retirement If You're Living In This State

    Where you spend your golden years has a big influence on the happiness you experience in retirement.
  • Play

    Three big changes to your 2014 tax bill personal finance reporter Kelli B. Grant reports on the big changes in effect for the 2014 tax year and how to prepare for them.

    CNBC Videos
  • Is the oil price fall more than just a coincidence?

    The recent drop in oil prices could be due to more than just lower demand, according to some analysts, who have suggested that the U.S. could be deliberately manipulating the market.

  • When the Markets Get Noisy, Invest $5

    I’ve started playing this game during market volatility: When someone tells me the market is scary, I increase my investments. It takes the desire to act and harnesses it for good.

    The New York Times
  • First-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine

    Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will supply a first-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine to a demonstration plant being built in Texas, USA. The plant will be developed by NET Power, LLC, a U.S. venture, together with CB&I, the most complete energy infrastructure focused company in the… from RSS
  • Here are all the places you can use Apple Pay - CNET

    Officially launching today, here are all the banks, apps and businesses that currently accept Apple Pay.

    CNET from RSS
  • What Is SolarCity Stock Worth Today?

    Is SolarCity undervalued or overvalued? That's the question our solar specialist tries to answer.

    Motley Fool
  • Not so fast cordcutters_cable's not going anywhere

    Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. Customers tired of ...

    Associated Press
  • U.S. airlines raise fares by $2 on average

    By Jeffrey Dastin (Reuters) - Major U.S. airlines have raised domestic one-way fares by $2 on average since Thursday, marking the first industry wide increase in half a year. The hikes suggest that airlines do not intend to pass along savings from the decline in jet fuel prices to their customers.…

  • Play

    Why heating bills could plunge this winter

    Temperatures are starting to fall but natural gas prices are doing something rather surprising – they’re falling along with it.

    CNBC: Talking Numbers
  • How Cheap Oil Could Become a Real Problem for Airlines

    Oil futures have been on a torrid plunge in recent weeks, touching lows below $80 per barrel. For roughly the past 35 years, inexpensive jet fuel has routinely served as a siren call to airline executives. Marginal routes become profitable with lower fuel prices, which, in turn, bolsters the… from RSS
  • The 1987 Crash and a Dose of Perspective

    The anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash over the weekend offers some perspective on this month’s stock volatility.

    The Wall Street Journal
  • Play

    Ebola outbreak: Cashing in on a cure

    Profiting off Ebola: OptionMONSTER's Jon Najarian breaks down several companies who stand to make a lot of money off an Ebola cure.

    Yahoo Finance
  • Are the Orioles serious about re-signing Nelson Cruz?

    The Most Valuable Oriole in 2014 might not even be an Oriole in 2015.

    Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic
  • The deja-vu selloff is reaching a ‘crisis bottom’: McClellan

    The stock market’s recent behavior reminds investment newsletter writer Tom McClellan of other times when the market hit “crisis” bottoms. The fact that the market is entering what has traditionally been ...

  • IBM Is in Even Worse Shape Than It Seemed

    The company misses earnings forecasts, drops its 2015 profit goal, and regroups

  • Is This Your Portfolio?

    Investment portfolios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and some are small. But regardless of their size, there’s a common thread. What am I talking about? All portfolios, regardless of whether ...