TECH
11/24/2010 04:55 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Pew Study: Wealthier Americans Use Internet More

Wealthier households are more likely to use the Internet, according to a new Pew study.

The "digital divide" is still real, even though broadband Internet has been widely available for over ten years. The study found that while 95% of households earning $75,000 or more use the Internet in some way, just 57% of households earning $30,000 or less do so.

The numbers are even starker when it comes to broadband access in the home: 87% of users in the income top bracket have Internet in their homes, but just 40% of the lowest bracket do. Even in the next-lowest income bracket, consisting of households earning $30,000 to $49,000 per year, only 64% of households have Internet at home.

Users belonging to different income brackets also use the Internet differently. Of the highest earners, 74% use the web to get their news, whereas 34% of the lowest earners do. Unsurprisingly, higher income users also own more gadgets.

Such statistics may give fuel to net neutrality advocates, who could argue that these numbers already show that poorer people cannot afford the same access to the Internet as their richer counterparts. The FCC published their plan to initiate a national broadband plan to bring high-speed Internet to those who cannot access it readily earlier this year.