Internet Use is Growing



Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey among certain households to learn information about current trends in America. The questions tend to be similar each year, in order to show consistent results. However, those involved in the study suspected that survey results from 2015 did not seem to be accurate when related to computer and internet usage in American households. This theory led to a revision of survey questions in 2016, and did show some significant changes.

The 2015 ACS survey showed that only 38% of households were using broadband (mobile) internet at home. After the revised questions, the 2016 number jumped to 68% of households using mobile internet, which is likely a much more accurate figure.

The 2016 survey captured lots of other interesting data related to computer and internet usage in American households. For example, it found that 89% of households have a computer, which includes smartphones. In contrast, and certainly not surprising, only 8% of homes had computers in 1984.

  • Likely related to the increase in smartphone usage, 81% of homes reported having broadband internet service. For the first time, the new survey data captured separate results for smartphone and tablet usage in households.


  • 77% of households reported having a computer or laptop


  • 76% of households reported having a smartphone


  • 58% of households reported having a tablet


The survey showed that smartphone usage tends to be higher in younger households, and in those homes headed by minorities or those with lower income levels. Likely, smartphones are the only access to internet in these households. States on the Pacific coast and most northeastern states showed an above average level of internet access.

  • Washington had the highest household access to internet at 87%


  • Arkansas and Mississippi showed the lowest access to internet at 71%


  • Homes in larger metro areas were more likely to utilize all types of devices to use the internet—computer, laptop/desktop and smartphone.


Overall, more than two-thirds of American households access the internet via mobile devices. Here is the link to the full report on the revised American Community Survey.


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau,