There has been a sharp increase over the past few years in the proportion of people who spend a significant amount of time online. According to a new Gallup poll, 48 percent of people spend more than an hour a day using the Internet. That is an increase from 43 percent a year ago, and up from 33 percent in 2005.
In just the past year, there have been significant increases in people using the Internet more than an hour a day with annual household incomes of under $30,000. That has risen from 22 percent a year ago to a current 32 percent. The number of unmarried people spending more than an hour a day online has risen from 38 to 48 percent, and has gone from 50 to 62 percent among those between 18 and 29.
For people with post graduate degrees, the increase has risen to a whopping 68 percent, up from 56 percent a year ago. Though Americans aged 65 or older still lag behind younger age cohorts in heavy Internet usage, the number saying they're online more than an hour a day also rose briskly, from 14 to 23 percent.
By contrast, survey respondents with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more, bucked the trend. Among them, 63 percent use the Internet more than an hour a day, down from 65 percent the previous year. More surprising was a statistically significant downturn among college graduates, which dropped from 56 to 51 percent.
There was also a notable gender gap in the findings: While the number of men using the Internet more than an hour a day rose from 44 to 53 percent, the number of women doing so was essentially flat, 41 percent in 2007, compared with 42 percent in 2008.
In the latest survey, 53 percent of employed people said they used the Internet more than an hour a day, compared with 54 percent a year ago. By contrast, non working people's use of the Internet rose significantly. Just 28 percent used the Internet more than an hour a day last year, vs. 41 percent this year.
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