We ask questions about the computers and devices that people use, whether people access the internet, and how people access the internet to create data about computer and internet use.
We added these questions in 2013 as a requirement of the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008. They help federal agencies measure the nationwide development of broadband access and decrease barriers to broadband access.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask three questions that cover the type of computer you use, whether you have internet access, and what type of internet access you have.
We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to evaluate access to computers and the internet. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We ask about computer and internet use to help state and local agencies evaluate access to broadband in their communities. Schools, libraries, rural health care providers, and other public service providers also use this information. Communities ensure their residents are connected to assistance programs, emergency services, and important information. These statistics are useful to understand whether to use internet or more expensive outreach methods for distributing important public health or safety information.
Federal agencies use these data to evaluate the extent of access to, and adoption of broadband, with a focus on underserved areas.
Computer and internet use questions were added to the ACS in 2013 and modified in 2016. Research about this modification and copies of previous questionnaires are available on the ACS website.