Friday, June 01, 2018

84% of Americans Are Digitally Literate

The 84 percent majority of Americans are digitally literate, according to a survey of Americans aged 16 to 65. Only 16 percent of the population is not digitally literate. These findings come from The International Assessment of Adult Competencies, sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The survey assessed the computer skills of a nationally representative sample of Americans, determining how many were able to use computers "to solve real-world problems such as purchasing goods or services, finding health information, and managing personal information and business finances."

The United States was just one of the 19 countries whose computer skills were assessed by the OECD. With a digital literacy rate of 84 percent, the U.S. beat the 19-country average of 77 percent. Among the countries, the Netherlands had the largest percentage of digitally literate (89 percent) and Poland had the smallest (50 percent). The U.S. ranks lower in digital literacy than Scandinavian countries, about the same as Canada, England, and Germany, and higher than Australia, Austria, Korea, or Japan.

Fully 74 percent of Americans aged 18 to 65 use a computer at work, the survey found, and 81 percent use a computer in everyday life. Of course digital literacy varies by demographic characteristic. Here are some of the biggest differences...

Education: Fully 95 percent of 18-to-65-year-olds with an associate's degree or more education are digitally literate versus 83 percent of high school graduates and 59 percent of high school dropouts.

Age: The youngest adults are the most literate. Fully 92 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds are digitally literate. The figure falls with age to a low of 72 percent among 55-to-65-year-olds.

Race and Hispanic origin: Only 65 percent of Hispanics are digitally literate. The figure is 78 percent among Blacks and 89 percent among non-Hispanic Whites. Asians were not identified separately but included in an "other" category along with American Indians and the multiracial. The digital literacy rate of the "other" group was 87 percent.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, A Description of U.S. Adults Who Are Not Digitally Literate

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