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Some one-fifth of all heads of US households have never used email – and about 18% of US households (that is, 20 million of them) don’t have internet access, according to an annual phone survey of US households by Parks Associates (via Marketing Pilgrim).

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“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the homes in the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, use a computer.”

More findings from the forthcoming Parks study based on the survey, “National Technology Scan”:

  • Age and education are factors in the digital divide: Half of those who have never used email are over 65, and 56% had no schooling beyond high school.
  • Just 7% of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to subscribe to an internet service within the next 12 months.
  • Nevertheless, there has been a steady decline in the number of disconnected households: At yearend 2006, 29% of all US households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value.

“Internet connections have slowly increased in US households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives.”

About the study: National Technology Scan (pdf)?provides information on current adoption levels, demand, and the total available market for technology products and services in the US. The study provides comparative analysis with past adoption levels and overall trending patterns for strategic planning and forecasts of sales and revenues for product lines and services.

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