February 27, 2014

Pew Research Center

As an online journalist I think it’s sometimes easy to forget that the mobile revolution hasn’t put a smartphone in the pocket of every American yet. Pew cures that ignorance with hard data indicating fewer than 3 in 5 adults in the U.S. own smartphones:

The iPhone was only introduced in 2007. Still, it’s sobering to realize that such a significant portion of the population is getting along without smartphones, free from the constant yammering of app notifications.

What might be more shocking still is that just 87 percent of Americans use the Internet. That’s something like 39 million people in this country who aren’t online at all — unfathomable to anyone reading this post.

Most of those 39 million are in the 65+ age group, but 7 percent of those even in the 30 to 49 age group indicated they live their lives totally offline. (In October, Pew took a detailed look at offline Americans.)

Meanwhile, about 4 in 5 respondents said they use a laptop or desktop computer, the highest figure Pew has ever recorded. But that’s still smaller than the overall percentage of Americans online, indicating that some people are beginning to access the web via mobile devices only.

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Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor,…
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