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Pew Report: Internet Use in the Recession

July 17, 2009

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69%), or 88% of US Internet users, have used the Internet to cope with the recession—to hunt for bargains, jobs, ways to upgrade their skills, better investment strategies, housing options, and government benefits—according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.


Though the Internet ranks high among sources of information and advice that people are seeking, especially about personal finances and economic circumstances, broadcast media are used more as sources of news about national economics, finds the report titled "The Internet and the Recession."

economy-information sources personal-finance information sources

To meet the challenges of the current economy, most people consult multiple sources of information and support: They "network" with family, friends, experts, and information sources to make sense of the economy and proposed policy solutions.

The 52% of Americans who have been seriously affected by the recession—those whose investments and house values have plummeted, or those who have struggled in the job market—seek information in ways different from those who have not been hard-hit.

On average, Americans are using 2-3 sources of information to make sense of what is happening and plan personal coping strategies. They talk to people, seek updates from media sources like newspapers and broadcast media, and actively search for insights into the economy and how they might adjust.

However, the quest for information and advice online is not intense for most Americans:

  • 18% say they search at least once a day for recession-related material.
  • About half of Internet users say they get such material every few days or less frequently.

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