As of May 2013, 15% of American adults age 18 and older do not use the Internet or email, according to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Internet use is highly correlated with age, education, and household income, the study found. In particular, age corresponds strongly with Internet use: 44% of Americans age 65 and older are offline, compared with 17% of the next-youngest age group (adults 50-64).

A similar proportion (41%) of adults who have not graduated high school are offline, as are 24% of Hispanics and 24% of those in households earning less than $30,000 per year. And 20% of rural residents say they do not use the Internet, significantly more than those living in urban or suburban areas (14%).

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Why They're Offline

Asked the main reason for not using the Internet or email, respondents gave a variety of answers:

  • 34% of offline adults said they just aren't interested in going online or don't need to, or that they are "too busy" or think the Internet is a waste of time.
  • 32% mentioned usability-related issues, such as finding it too difficult or frustrating to go online, or saying they don't know how or are physically unable.
  • 9% mentioned price-related reasons.
  • 7% said a lack of access or availability is the main reason they're offline.

Experiences With the Internet

  • 14% of offline adults used to use the Internet but stopped for some reason.
  • 23% of offline adults live in a household where someone else uses the Internet at home.
  • 44% of offline adults have asked a friend or family member to look something up or complete a task on the Internet for them at some point.

Future Use

  • Just 8% of offline adults would like to start using the Internet or email.
  • Most offline Americans surveyed (63%) said they would need assistance going online if they did choose to use the Internet in the future.

About the research: The report was based on data from telephone interviews conducted from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults age 18 and older.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

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Twitter: @ayaznanji