A recent study says income dictates web usage as those with more money are using the internet more frequently.
The study, from Pew Internet Research, says those in higher-income households are more likely to use the internet for longer and more varied reasons than those in low-income households. While 75 percent of lower income households have access to the internet, most do not use it all that much.
Fifty five percent of those in households with an income of 75,000 or more use the internet several times a day. Only 31 percent of those in lower income households use the internet frequently.
We're used to tossing it around like everyone is using the internet. While everyone has access to the internet, only a select economic demographic are using it in a high enough frequency and engagement that captures the picture in our mind. With the lower income groups, it's a pretty stark 25 percent difference. It's different than what we have in our minds. There are haves that are very engaged and others not using it to the extent we imagined, said Jim Jansen, senior fellow at Pew Internet Research .
While the study did not specify why there was a difference in internet usage among age groups, Jansen did say one explanation might be broadband access. While 87 percent of people in high income households have broadband, only 40 percent of those in low income households do.
Certainly, Pew has done studies that show the broadband access is affordance or obstacle to using the internet. That has certainly played a part based on what people have done in past, Jansen said.
Still, Jansen said certain tasks, such as checking email or accessing online classified ads, which can be done on internet without broadband speeds were also done less frequently in lower income households. This indicates lower income households are not using in the internet frequently regardless of the connection speed.
Jansen said Pew Internet conducted three separate surveys to create the overall study over a period of time from late 2009 to September of this year. The study is part of the organization's Internet and American Life project.