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More Americans than ever before are using portable devices to keep tabs on their email throughout the day and night, and from virtually anywhere – bed, cars, bathrooms, even church – according to AOL’s third annual “Email Addiction” survey, which found that email use on portable devices has nearly doubled since 2004.

Some user-related findings from the AOL survey:

  • The average email user checks mail about five times a day, and 59% of those with portable devices are using them to check email every time a new message arrives.
  • 43% of email users with portable devices say they keep the device nearby when they are sleeping to listen for incoming mail.
  • With or without portable devices, 15% of Americans describe themselves as “addicted to email.”
  • Many users even plan their vacations with email access in mind:
    • About four in ten email users say it is “very” or “somewhat” important to them to think about email accessibility when they are planning a vacation.
    • 83% of email users admit to checking their mail once a day while actually on vacation.

Other significant findings from the AOL survey:

  • Washington, DC is the most “email addicted” city in the country:
    • 82% of Washingtonians have multiple email accounts – the highest percentage of any city in the survey.
    • Rounding out the top 10 cities addicted to emai: Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando, Denver, Miami.
  • Americans are emailing anywhere and everywhere: 59% of people emailing from portable devices are checking email in bed while in their pajamas; 53% in the bathroom; 37% are checking email while they drive; and 12% admit to checking email in church.
  • Women (16%) are more likely to describe themselves as addicted to email than men (13%), and are actually spending 15 minutes more per day on email than men.
  • 43% of email users check their email first thing in the morning, and 40% have checked their email in the middle of the night. 26% admit to checking email on a laptop in bed while in their pajamas.
  • 60% of people who email admit to checking their personal email at work an average of three times a day. While only 15% of those who do so have been “busted” by their bosses, 28% say they feel guilty about it.

About the study: The AOL study results are based on interviews conducted online, in partnership with Opinion Research Corporation, with 4,025 Americans age 13 and over. The survey was conducted June 9-19, 2007, in 20 US cities.

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