Sunday, May 29, 2011

Almost all high-income homes online, but just 54% of low-income homes: StatsCan

The Canadian Press: Almost all high-income homes online, but just 54% of low-income homes: StatsCan

Almost all high-income homes online, but just 54% of low-income homes: StatsCan

By Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press – 4 days ago

TORONTO — An overwhelming 97 per cent of the highest-income households in Canada had access to the Internet last year while just over half of the homes in the lowest income group were online, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.

Overall, about 80 per cent of all Canadian households had Internet access in 2010, with the highest penetration levels in British Columbia (84 per cent), Alberta (83) and Ontario (81).

Almost all the homes with total incomes above $87,000 were connected, while just 54 per cent of households with incomes under $30,000 had access.

The study also found that 93 per cent of households with three or more members had Internet access, compared to 58 per cent of single-person homes.

Of the households not online, 56 per cent of those surveyed said they had no interest in the web, email or social media; 20 per cent said cost was an issue; 15 per cent said they didn't have a computer; and 12 per cent said they lacked the confidence, knowledge or skills to use the Internet.

The annual survey on Internet use was redesigned for 2010 and cannot be compared with previous reports. A followup study will be released in the late summer or early fall detailing Canadians' individual Internet use.

The survey was retooled last year because the Internet has grown so prevalent in the lives of most Canadians, and some of the old questions posed were too basic, says Statistics Canada's Larry McKeown.

"It was getting to the point that the survey was becoming very difficult to answer because people are doing everything on the Internet now," McKeown says.

"If you think of an analogy of when electricity was first becoming common, (you might've asked): 'What are you using electricity for?' Well, eventually you're using it for everything and you stop asking those questions."

One of the more interesting findings for McKeown was the number of households using more than one device to get online, which was 54 per cent. Desktop and laptop computers were the most common ways that households got online but about a third of the homes also used a "wireless handheld device," like a cellphone or tablet computer, and 20 per cent used a video game console.

The survey also found that only four per cent of wired households were not yet on a high-speed connection.

Copyright © 2011 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved

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