More people in the United States are connected to the Internet than ever before, but how they go online is changing dramatically. People in America are increasingly abandoning broadband connections and opting to go online using only their mobile devices, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
This may seem like a natural progression: More than two-thirds of adults in America are now smartphone owners. But it also represents a reversal for broadband connectivity, which had long been on the rise.
Two years ago, 70 percent of adults in America reported having broadband at home; today, 67 percent say they do. Over the same time period, the percentage of people who said they have a smartphone but no broadband at home jumped from 8 percent to 13 percent.
These shifts are particularly pronounced among black people and those who live in rural areas. Two years ago, 62 percent of African Americans said the had broadband at home; today, their home-broadband use is down to 54 percent. Smartphone-only Internet connectivity among African Americans went from 10 percent to 19 percent over the same time.
Pew found a similar pattern among people who live in rural areas. In 2013, 60 percent of them had broadband; today, 55 percent of them do. And in 2013, 9 percent of them went online using only a smartphone; today 15 percent of them do. Another demographic that was more likely to go smartphone-only: people with kids. Two years ago, 10 percent of parents reported being smartphone-only Internet users; today, 17 percent say they are.