Number Of Online Americans Continues To Grow: Study

May 25, 2006 (03:05 PM EDT)

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The percentage of U.S. adults with access to the Internet has grown to 77 percent, a research firm said.

The number of Americans online in April was 172 million, a 5 percent increase over the same period a year ago, Harris Interactive said in a recent report. The percentage of U.S. adults able to get on the Internet increased 3 points since a year ago.

The number of people who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other location has grown at a steady rate since 1995, when Harris first started tracking Internet use. At that time, 9 percent of U.S. adults had access to the Web.

The biggest jump over the last year has been in the proportion of adults online at home, 70 percent versus 66 percent in 2005. The percentage of people accessing the Web at work or another location other than the home has remained nearly flat.

As more people get online, the demographic profile of Internet users is changing to look more like the country as a whole, Harris said. While more young people and the affluent are online, the numbers for low-income and older people are increasing.

Harris bases its research on telephone surveys of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.