Americans With Disabilities Use Internet Less, Survey Indicates
According to a national survey conducted in September 2010, 27 percent of American adults live with a disability that interferes with their daily lives. The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, was carried out through telephone interviews among 3,001 adults ages 18 and older. Interviewers asked the subjects whether or not they suffered from any disabilities, and how those disabilities interfere with day-to-day activities such as running errands and using the Internet.
The survey found that 54 percent of adults living with a disability use the Internet, as opposed to the 81 percent of adults who do and reported that they had no disabilities. In addition, two percent of American adults say they have a disability or illness that makes it more difficult or impossible for them to use the Internet.
Other information gathered in surveys such as the American Community Survey and the U.S. Census may help further explain the Pew survey results.
Those surveys found that Americans living with a disability are more likely than other adults to live in lower-income households: Forty-six percent of adults with a disability live in households with $30,000 or less in annual income, compared with 26 percent of adults who report no disabilities and live in households with that level of income.
The other surveys also found that people living with disabilities are also more likely to have low levels of education: Sixty-one percent of Americans living with a disability have a high school education or less, compared with 40 percent of adults without disabilities that have reached the same level of education.
The Pew survey noted that disability is statistically linked with being older, having less formal education and having lower income overall—while contrastingly, Internet use is associated with a younger, educated demographic with higher income. So while it's not surprising that those living with a disability have lower rates of Internet usage, the survey found, having a disability is negatively correlated with the probability of having Internet access.
Finally, Americans living with a disability are also likely to be older . Roughly 58 percent are age 50 or older, compared with the 36 percent of adults who have no disabilities at that age.
The full report is available through the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.