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More Than an Age Issue – Internet Adoption and Usage Among Young Adults

(August 1, 2011) - While Millennials are some of the most avid users of mobile and Internet technology, Connected Nation’s findings show considerable variance in technology adoption among young adults. Research conducted by Connected Nation in 12 U.S. states and Puerto Rico suggests that broadband adoption and Internet usage are positively correlated to educational attainment.

Nearly three-quarters of 18-24 year olds who have attended college (74%) report subscribing to fixed home broadband service, compared to only 55% of 18-24 year olds who have never attended college. In addition, more than nine out of ten young adults (95%) who have attended college report accessing the Internet (at home or someplace else), compared to only 87% of those who have not attended college (a significantly lower rate of usage).

A new report released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggests a similar digital divide based on educational attainment among young adults. When it comes to home broadband access, 95% of undergraduates and 93% of graduate students ages 18-24 report subscribing to a home broadband service, compared to 82% of 18-24 year old non-students and 78% of 18-24 year old community college students.

Connected Nation’s research also shows significant variations in how these two groups of young adults use of the Internet. All Internet-connected young adults turn to the Internet for social interaction, entertainment, and shopping, regardless of educational attainment. However, young adults who have attended college report a significantly higher rate of online banking, searching for health or medical information, teleworking, and conducting online transactions with government.

What does this “App Gap” mean for young people who are entering the workforce straight out of high school? Are there applications that you think are essential for young high school grads to have? Let us know your thoughts on Connected Nation's Facebook or drop us a note on Twitter.

By Dev Joshi and Travis Lane, Research Analysts with Connected Nation