January 5, 2010, 12:00 AM

93% of young adults are online, says a new Pew study

74% of U.S. adults—and 93% of young adults—use the Internet, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

74% of U.S. adults use the Internet, according to a survey in November and December by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. While that represents a slight dip from 79% in April, the earlier survey did not include Spanish-language interviews.

Conducting interviews in Spanish likely drove down the overall percentage, as the survey found a large racial gap in Internet usage. 76% of non-Hispanic whites use the Internet, compared to 59% of non-Hispanic blacks and 55% of Hispanics.

Household income is also strongly correlated with Internet usage, the survey found. Usage is 60% for those that earn less than $30,000 a year; 76% for those that earn $30,000-$49,999; 83% for those that earn $50,000-$74,999; and 94% for those that earn more than $75,000.

Internet activity also varies significantly by age. 93% of those 18-29 years old are online, versus 81% of those 30-49, 70% of those 50-64 and 38% among those 65 and older.

60% of adult Americans have broadband connections in their homes. That percentage increases to 63% for white non-Hispanics, but dips to 44% of black non-Hispanics and 40% of Hispanics.

Overall, 55% of Americans connect to the Internet wirelessly at least on occasion-a slight uptick from 54% in September.

The survey also found that 83% of adults have mobile phones or smartphones and, among those with mobile phones, 35% have accessed the Internet by phone. And 29% have sent or received e-mail on their phone, up from 25% in April.

Pew surveyed 2,258 adults in November and December.

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