Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Connectivity Continuum

Twenty-seven percent of Americans are highly connected to the Internet, accessing the Internet at multiple locations with multiple devices. Another 16 percent of Americans are not connected at all to the Internet, lacking any kind of computer or Internet use. These are the two extremes of what the Census Bureau calls the "connectivity continuum," with everyone else at various stages of connectivity in between (home-only connectivity, single-device connectivity, etc.).

The Census Bureau's report, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2011, is admittedly dated in a world of rapid technological change. But the report captures an historic moment—the transition from pre- to post-Internet age when connectivity sharply divides the population. The highly connected and the unconnected are the two largest segments of the population—or they were in 2011.

Not surprisingly, young adults are more likely to be at one extreme: 37 percent of 18-to-44-year-olds are highly-connected and only 10 to 11 percent are unconnected. The elderly are more likely to be at the other extreme: 36 percent of people aged 65 or older are unconnected and only 6 percent are highly connected. The Census Bureau also examined connectivity by state. The state with the largest percentage of highly-connected residents is Colorado (36 percent). The state with the largest percentage of unconnected residents is Mississippi (27 percent).

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