Saying No to the Net

They don’t have it, don’t need it, say it’s too expensive: Stubborn minority refuses to go online.

Email and the Internet seem omnipresent these days, but 15% of American adults do not use either, according to a “Who’s Not Online and Why,” a survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Reasons range from lack of access to lack of interest.

More than a third (34%) of non-Internet users think the Internet is “just not relevant,” saying they are uninterested, do not want to use it or have no need for it.

Less than a third (32%) of non-Net users cite reasons tied to their sense that the Internet is not very easy to use. These non-users find going online “difficult or frustrating” or are physically unable to go online. Others among them worry about such issues as spam, spyware and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.

Almost one in five (19%) of non-Internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an Internet connection. About one in 14 (7%) of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the Internet.

Even among the 85% of adults who do go online, experiences connecting to the Internet may vary widely. For instance, although 76% of adults go online at home, 9% of adults use the Internet but lack home access.

These users cite many reasons for not having Internet connections at home, most often relating to cost: Almost half (44%) mentioned financial issues, such as not owning a computer, or having a cheaper option outside the home.

Final fun fact about lower-than-average Internet use in the 21st century: Most home Internet users have broadband access in some form, but 3% of all adults go online at home using a dial-up connection.