Demographics of Internet Media Literacy

The focus of our class blog is media literacy.  For my blog today I would like to focus on how income, education and access affect individual’s media literacy and Internet usage.  I found 2007 data from an article called American Demographics and a May 2010 PEW Research Center study.

According to the PEW Research Center, as of May 2010, 78% of Americans use a computer and 79% of people have used the Internet on any type of device.  (PEW, 2010)

According to American Demographics (2007) income is a factor in email usage.  91.5% of people who make more than $100,000 a year have used email vs 70.7% of people who make less than $50,000 a year.  American Demographics also showed that 25 to 44 year olds are more likely to obtain news or current events from the Internet than any other age group.  (American Demographics, 2007).

According to PEW research (May 2010) 79% of adults in the U.S. use the Internet.  Income still appears to be a major factor in Internet usage.  95% of Americans who make $75,000 or more use the Internet vs 63% of individuals who make less than $30,000.  Both studies show that individuals who have more income are more likely to use the Internet.  96% of people who have a college education use the Internet vs 52% of people who did not graduate high school.   81% of people who live in urban ares and 82% of people who live in suburban areas have access to Internet vs 67% of rural areas (PEW, 2010).

The PEW research center also has data on what people look at online.  75% of Internet users in the U.S. read news online.  66% of Internet users use video services such as google video or YouTube.  67% of people who use the Internet view government websites.  61% of Internet users use social networking sites.  59% of people viewed how to or repair tutorial information.  37% of people who use the Internet use it to download music.  All of these activities; reading news, watching video, viewing government information, and listening to music, involve different types of media.

Individuals who live in the United States are more likely to use the Internet if they are educated, make more income, and reside in urban or suburban areas.  I believe that education is a huge factor in media literacy.  Those who have less than a high school education are also less likely to have media literacy education.  Those who stay in school to receive post secondary education are more likely to use the Internet and consume more online content.

For more PEW data on internet usage refer to the PEW table below.


(2007). AMERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS. Advertising Age, 77(1), 42-46. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.

Who’s Online – Internet Demographics | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. (n.d.). Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from

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