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Home Internet Access: Big Gaps Exist Across Education and Income

<p>Nearly three-quarters of American homes now have Internet access, but gaps exist across several U.S. demographics.</p>

Nearly three-quarters of all American homes now have Internet access, according to a new government report. But gaps exist across several U.S. demographics — especially education levels.

The Census Bureau released its 2012 "Computer and Internet Trends in America" report on Tuesday. Overall, 74.8 percent of U.S. homes have Internet access in the home, up from just 8.2 percent from the first report in 1984.

The Census' annual report takes a broad view of computer Internet usage, tracking national statistics by age, race, gender, income, region, employment status and education.

That last demographic represents the biggest gap when it comes to the percentage of people who use the Internet at home, and the disparity is striking.

Among people 25 and older, only about 30 percent of people who did not graduate high school used the Internet in their homes in 2012. That figure nearly doubles to about 58 percent for high-school grads, and it jumps to almost 90 percent for people who obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The gaps in education figures are even higher than the statistics broken out by income.

About 45 percent of people living in a household with income less than $25,000 logged on at home in 2012, a percentage that doubles for homes with income of $150,000 or more.

Overall in America, 80 percent of all homes have a computer, and of those, just under 95 percent use it to connect to the Internet.

The Census Bureau also tracked Internet usage by state. New Hampshire clocked in with the highest percentage of people who access the Internet in their homes, at 79.5 percent; Mississippi came in last with 56 percent.