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NTIA Data: Two-thirds of U.S. Internet Users Do Not Participate in the Sharing Economy

August 21, 2019 by By Amy Robinson, Intern, and Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

The Internet has fundamentally reshaped how Americans live, work and communicate. These changes have become more pronounced with speedier wireless Internet services, and increased use of mobile devices. One recent trend is the emergent “sharing economy” where people are buying, selling and trading goods and services with each other. Examples including ride-hailing services, lodging and e-commerce.

In our most recent Internet Use Survey, conducted in 2017, NTIA included questions about participation in the sharing economy for the first time. The results show that a third of Internet users in the U.S. reported selling goods or requesting or offering services from others through online platforms. This compares with the significant majority of Internet users – 69 percent – who reported using the Internet for more traditional e-commerce activities such as online shopping or travel reservations.

Sharing economy participants tend to be younger, have higher incomes and education levels, and live in metropolitan areas, our data reveal.

Internet users were also much more likely to request sharing, or peer-to-peer, services than provide their own services or sell goods. While 26 percent reported requesting services, only 6 percent of Internet users offered their own services and 11 percent reported selling their own goods online.

Exploring demographics

Cutting the Cord: NTIA Data Show Shift to Streaming Video as Consumers Drop Pay-TV

May 21, 2019 by Edward Carlson, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Americans increasingly are moving away from cable and satellite pay-TV services and opting to stream online video offerings, data from NTIA’s latest Internet Use Survey show. While most households still subscribe to cable or satellite television services, the survey shows the proportion of Internet users watching videos online has grown from 45 percent in 2013 to 70 percent in 2017.

Internet-based video services typically provide on-demand streaming from a large content library, and are not dependent on the offerings made available by any particular cable or satellite provider. The shift away from pay-TV services crosses all age groups, but younger Internet users have consistently been much more likely to watch video online than their older counterparts. For example, 86 percent of Internet users between the ages of 15 and 24 watched video online in 2017, compared with just 40 percent of users ages 65 and older (see Figure 1).

Graph showing percentages of Internet users watching videos online

Unplugged: NTIA Survey Finds Some Americans Still Avoid Home Internet Use

April 15, 2019 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

NTIA’s most recent Internet Use Survey depicts a rapidly evolving nation eager to take advantage of technological innovation. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables are increasingly dominating the computing landscape, as more Americans than ever use the Internet.

Yet a portion of the population still does not use the Internet at home, consistent with findings in previous NTIA and U.S. Census Bureau surveys on Internet use. According to the most recent data collected in 2017, 22 percent of U.S. households—approximately 28 million households in total—did not use the Internet from home, with most citing either lack of interest or concern about price (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Main Reason for Not Using the Internet at Home, Percent of Offline Households, 2001–2017

The proportion of offline households citing lack of need or interest has increased from 39 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2017, while concerns about expense has remained about the same over that time period. Meanwhile, those citing lack of adequate computing equipment decreased from 21 percent of offline households in 2009 to just 4 percent in 2017.

Digital Economy Accounted for 6.9 Percent of GDP in 2017

April 05, 2019 by NTIA

This blog was cross-posted on BEA's website.

The digital economy accounted for 6.9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, or $1.35 trillion, in 2017, according to a new batch of statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis

How does that compare with traditional U.S. industries? The digital economy ranked just below professional, scientific, and technical services, which accounted for 7.4 percent of GDP, and just above wholesale trade, with a 6.0 percent share. 

BEA chart

New BEA data also show that:

Digital Divide Among School-Age Children Narrows, but Millions Still Lack Internet Connections

December 11, 2018 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

America continues to make significant strides in reducing the digital divide among school-age children, according to NTIA’s November 2017 Internet Use Survey. In 2017, 14 percent of the U.S. population between ages 6 and 17 lived in homes with no Internet service, down from 19 percent in 2015 (see Figure 1). These are encouraging numbers that echo our previous report on the narrowing digital divide.

Figure 1: School-Age Children Lacking Internet Service at Home

Still, significant challenges remain, especially for the approximately 7 million school-age children that lived in households without home Internet service in 2017. These children were also less likely than their peers to use the Internet from other locations.

Among children in offline households, just 16 percent went online while at school, and only 5 percent used the Internet from a library or community center, compared with 60 percent and 20 percent of children with home Internet service, respectively. In fact, only 20 percent of school-age children living in offline households used the Internet at all, leaving nearly 6 million of the 7 million children even less connected as schools increasingly rely upon online resources for communication with parents and instruction.

Most Americans Continue to Have Privacy and Security Concerns, NTIA Survey Finds

August 20, 2018 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Privacy and security online continue to be major issues for Americans, according to an NTIA survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly three-quarters of Internet-using households had significant concerns about online privacy and security risks in 2017, while a third said these worries caused them to hold back from some online activities. About 20 percent said they had experienced an online security breach, identity theft, or a similar crime during the past year.

However, the 2017 survey showed a decline in households reporting concerns and avoiding certain online activities compared with the 2015 survey, which first asked these questions. The proportion of online households reporting privacy or security concerns fell from 84 percent to 73 percent during this period. Similarly, the proportion of online households that said privacy concerns stopped them from doing certain online activities dropped from 45 percent to 33 percent.

Since 1994, NTIA has regularly commissioned the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct surveys on Internet use. In the latest survey, which went into the field in November 2017, over 43,000 of the more than 52,000 interviewed households reported having at least one Internet user, and those Internet-using households were asked the privacy and security questions.

New Data Show Substantial Gains and Evolution in Internet Use

June 06, 2018 by David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

The digital divide is showing signs of giving way as more Americans from all walks of life connect to the Internet. Several historically disadvantaged groups showed significant increases in online adoption, according to initial results from NTIA’s most recent survey on Internet use conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The survey, which was conducted in November 2017, reveals new contours of Americans’ Internet use. In 2017, more households had a mobile data plan than wired broadband service. Additionally, for the first time since NTIA began tracking use of different types of computing devices, tablets were more popular than desktop computers among Americans, and the number of people who used multiple types of devices also increased substantially.

Narrowing Digital Divide

The data show that 78 percent of Americans ages 3 and older used the Internet as of November 2017, compared with 75 percent in July 2015, when our previous survey was conducted. This increase of 13.5 million users was driven by increased adoption among low-income families, seniors, African Americans, Hispanics, and other groups that have been less likely to go online.

Initial Estimates Show Digital Economy Accounted for 6.5 Percent of GDP in 2016

March 15, 2018 by NTIA

This blog post was cross-posted on BEA's website.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released, for the first time, preliminary statistics and an accompanying report exploring the size and growth of the digital economy. Goods and services that are primarily digital accounted for 6.5 percent of the U.S. economy, or $1.2 trillion, in 2016, after a decade of growing faster than the U.S. economy overall, BEA’s research shows. These new estimates are supported in part by funding from NTIA.

From 2006 to 2016, the digital economy grew at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent, outpacing overall U.S. economic growth of 1.5 percent per year.

In 2016, the digital economy supported 5.9 million jobs, or 3.9 percent of total U.S. employment. Digital economy employees earned $114,275 in average annual compensation compared with $66,498 per worker for the total U.S. economy.

BEA includes in its definition of the digital economy three major types of goods and services:

NTIA Recommends Improvements to the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection

January 03, 2018 by John B. Morris, Jr., Associate Administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

NTIA relies on sound data to understand the state of communications and information use in the United States, and to develop policies that promote robust broadband services across the country. Since 1994, NTIA has been collecting data on broadband adoption and usage in the United States. Our work has been complemented in recent years by the Federal Communications Commission’s Form 477 data program.

Broadband providers—including both wired and wireless providers—complete Form 477 to report where they offer service, as well as what speeds they offer and the technologies they use, among other information. The data collected through Form 477 constitute a critical resource for NTIA, as well as other policymakers and researchers who are interested in understanding Internet access in the United States. This week, in response to the FCC seeking ideas for how to improve its Form 477 data collection, NTIA filed comments recommending specific measures the FCC can take to enhance the program.

In the filing, NTIA recommends improvements to two aspects of the Form 477 program. First, the FCC should bolster the accuracy of the broadband availability data. During every reporting period, numerous providers from across the country, using a range of different methodologies, submit data on every Census block they serve. Such extensive data are bound to include some inaccuracies and differences based on providers’ interpretations of reporting instructions.

NTIA Data Offers Window Into Understanding Veterans’ Computer and Internet Use

November 08, 2017 by Giulia McHenry, Chief Economist, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Broadband can play an essential role in supporting veterans by providing access to services and helping them to establish a stable and fulfilling civilian life.

As we honor our veterans this week, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure their seamless transition civilian life and recognize that it’s critical to that all veterans have access to broadband.

Understanding the barriers to veterans’ broadband access and adoption is the first step to reducing the challenges veterans face as they seek out job opportunities, affordable housing, vital health services and more.

In advance of Veterans Day, NTIA conducted an analysis of its Digital Nation data to better understand the landscape of veterans’ computer and internet use in America.  Since 1994, NTIA has partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to survey Americans about their computer and Internet use. Were we able to break out the data by veteran status going all the way back to our earliest data collections. We also added “Veteran Status” as a search option in our Data Explorer tool so that the public can more easily examine the data and create custom charts about internet use by veterans.

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