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Report Number ACS 39
Camille Ryan

Introduction

The presence and use of computers has grown considerably over the past few decades. In 1984, 8 percent of households reported owning a computer according to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

Over half of adults who said they used a computer at home in 1984, 59 percent reported they were learning how to use it. Adults used computers for a limited number of activities such as word processing, video games, and jobs.

By 2015, however, the percentage of households with a computer had increased almost tenfold to 79 percent in the CPS.

In 2016, the American Community Survey (ACS) found that 89 percent of households had a computer, making it a common feature of everyday life. Nowadays, people use computers for an even wider range of uses including online banking, entertainment, socializing, and accessing health care.

Like computer use, the percentage of households using the Internet has also increased over time. This report uses data from the CPS to provide historical context and data from the American Community Survey to highlight characteristics that are more current.

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