If you visit the website for the Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org), you'll find that they describe themselves thus: "The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan 'fact tank' that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take positions on policy issues."
One of the Pew Research Center's initiatives is the Pew Internet & American Life Project (PI&ALP). The Project "produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life."
Now that we have those details out of the way, let's look at some of the data coming out of the PI&ALP. They report that, on an average day, 94 million American adults use the Internet. Since the population of the United States is approximately 300 million, we're talking about a third of the population. Of that 94 million, 77% use email each day while 63% use a search engine.
October statistics show the most popular search engines. The following numbers reflect the number of unique visitors to each site during that month:
75,281,000 Google Search
68,031,000 Yahoo! Search
49,748,000 MSN Search
43,705,000 Ask Jeeves
36,092,000 AOL Search
In their latest report (released 12/28/05), the PI&ALP examined gender differences related to Internet use. They indicate that men dominated the Internet in its earliest days, but since 2000 the Internet population has been evenly divided between men and women.
"Young women are more likely to be online than young men. And black women have surged online in the last three years."
"Men go online more frequently than women. 44% of men go online at least several times a day, compared with 39% of women."
"More than men, women are enthusiastic online communicators and they use email in a more robust way . . . women are more likely than men to use email to write to friends and family about a variety of topics, from sharing news and worries to planning events to forward jokes and funny stories. Men and women both appreciate email for its efficiencies and convenience, but women are more likely to feel satisfied with the role of email in their lives, especially when it comes to nurturing their relationships."
"More men than women perform online transactions, although both share a rapidly growing enthusiasm for the Internet's function as a tool of commerce."
"Men pursue and consume information online more aggressively than women."
"Men use the Internet more than women as a destination for recreation."
"Men are most interested in technology than women, and they are also more tech savvy. Men value the Internet for the breadth of experience it offers; women value it for enriching their relationships, but they're more concerned about its risks."