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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2018

Press Release Number CB21-TPS.38

APRIL 21, 2021 — The U.S. Census Bureau today released a report that examines trends in computer and internet use in 2018. The report, Computer and Internet use in the United States: 2018, is based on statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS) and examines trends at the national, state and county levels.

Computer use has grown considerably over the past few decades. The percentage of households using the internet has also increased over time. The internet has impacted our work life as well by facilitating greater ability to work from home. The report uses data from the Current Population Survey to provide historical context and data from the ACS to highlight more current patterns.


  • Among all households in 2018, 92% had at least one type of computer and 85% had a broadband internet subscription. The ACS considers desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones as computers, along with selected computing technologies such as smart home devices and single-board computers.
  • Smartphone ownership surpassed ownership of all other computing devices. Smartphones were present in 84% of households, while 78% of households owned a desktop or laptop. Tablet ownership fell behind at 63%.
  • Urban residents were more likely than rural residents to use computing devices (93% of urban households compared to 89% of rural households) and were more likely to have any sort of internet subscription (86% of urban households compared to 81% of rural households).
  • Higher rates of internet subscription were found in households with higher household income and those where the householder had a higher level of educational attainment. Characteristics associated with lower subscription rates were a householder who rented rather than owned a home, households with limited English speaking ability and households with at least one person who was disabled.
  • Over one-half of all households (53%) had “high connectivity” – a term used here to refer to households with a laptop or desktop computer, smartphone, tablet, and a broadband internet connection.
  • While many households had home-based internet connections, others relied on a cell phone provider and connected to the internet through a smartphone. Households relying only on a smartphone were more likely to make $25,000 or less, be headed by someone under 35 years old or have a Black or Hispanic householder.

Data in this report are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. Comparisons of estimates take sampling error into account and are significant at the 90% confidence level or higher, unless otherwise noted. Because of rounding, some details may not sum to totals. For information on sampling and estimation methods, confidentiality protection and sampling/nonsampling errors, see the Accuracy of the Data documents for 2019.

No news release associated with this report. Tip Sheet only.



Leslie Malone
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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