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One in four Americans are online ‘constantly’

A new study shows consumers of all ages are spending more time on the internet

Photo (c) xavierarnau - Getty Images
As internet-connected devices become more widespread, a growing number of consumers admit to spending a majority of their day online.

About 26 percent of adults in the U.S. say they’re online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent who said the same in 2015. Forty-three percent of respondents said they go online “several times a day,” according to a new Pew Research study based on January data.

Overall, the researchers found that 77 percent of Americans go online on a daily basis. Just 11 percent said they only use the internet several times a week or less; the same percentage said they don’t use the internet at all.

Higher for younger adults

Time spent online each day was higher for younger adults and people in higher income brackets, the research found. Thirty-nine percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now go online almost constantly and 49 percent go online multiple times per day.

Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 aren’t too far behind, with about 36 percent using the internet almost constantly (an increase of 12 percentage points since 2015). Just 8 percent of those 65 and older go online almost constantly and just 30 percent go online multiple times per day.

Mobile connectivity a key factor

Adults with the ability to access the internet on the go through a mobile device are especially likely to be online for a significant portion of their day.

A majority of mobile internet users (89 percent) go online daily and 31 percent go online almost constantly. By contrast, 54 percent of Americans who don’t use a mobile device to go online do so daily and just 5 percent say they go online almost constantly.

Role of household income

People in higher income brackets are also more likely to be on the internet frequently.

About 35 percent of adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more are on the internet almost constantly and 91 percent use it daily, according to the study. Just 24 percent of people making less than $30,000 are on the internet almost constantly.

People living in non-rural areas are also more likely to be online a lot. Among adults who say they’re online almost constantly, 32 percent live in urban areas, 27 percent are suburban residents, and only 15 percent are rural residents.

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