Emily Vogels

53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A survey conducted in early April finds that roughly half of US adults (53%) say the internet has been essential for them personally during the pandemic and another 34% describe it as “important, but not essential.” The survey finds that a majority of Americans (62%) do not think it is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have a high-speed internet connection at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. And a similar share (65%) do not think the federal government should be responsible for ensuring cellphone services to all.

Americans turn to technology during COVID-19 outbreak, say an outage would be a problem

As the spread of COVID-19 upends work, classes and even doctor appointments across the country, a majority of Americans are turning to digital means to stay connected and track information about the outbreak. Amid this increased reliance, about nine-in-ten US adults (93%) say that a major interruption to their internet or cellphone service during the outbreak would be a problem in their daily life, including 49% who foresee an outage being a very big problem for them and 28% who believe it would be a moderately big problem.

Mobile Divides in Emerging Economies

As ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, spreads rapidly across the globe, there are still notable numbers of people in emerging economies who do not own a mobile phone, or who share one with others. A Pew Research Center survey in 11 emerging economies finds that a median of 6% of adults do not use phones at all, and a median of 7% do not own phones but instead borrow them from others. The mobile divides are most pronounced in Venezuela (32%), India (30%) and the Philippines (27%), countries where about three-in-ten adults do not own a mobile phone.

Americans and Digital Knowledge

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept. Some findings:

Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life

Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has been significant growth in tech adoption since 2012 among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Some findings: