Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released some data about how Income levels and Internet usage relate to each other. Earlier I discussed how I felt the research may have been a bit backwards in that it pointed to income levels as the reason that households use Internet differently and more specifically why higher income households use the Internet more often. I personally see the Internet as a great tool for increasing income and argued that perhaps it is the Internet that is the reason higher income households have higher income.
The last bit of research in the study by Pew was more in-tuned with my thoughts on the relationship between income and Internet usage; the research found that the intensity of use on the Internet, measured by what people do on the Internet, was very different between household income levels. Out of the households with income of more than $75,000 a year, 93% of them check email, 80% access news online, 71% pay bills online and 88% research products online. In comparison to only 34% of the lowest income bracket (<$30,000) who get their news online.
In the rest of the areas, the numbers between the lowest and highest income bracket were just as contrasting. Let’s dissect each of them individually..
Checking email: While not exactly a measure of business, such a huge difference between the income levels makes me think there is something more going on that simply forwarding chain-letters. Those in higher income households checking email 93% of the time are more than likely conducting some sort of income-generating business online.
News: The Internet is the quickest way of getting news and with 80% of higher income levels getting their news online, they are probably up on the times and know what’s going on in the world. That said, they probably keep good tabs on business news, the stock market and current affairs. That kind of information can put someone in a prime position to invest in a business, get in on the next income-generating idea and improve their income. Those that don’t get their news online are a day behind those that do, as the printed news is essentially a day late when it hits your doorstep. I also can’t help but think that those that don’t get news online don’t read the paper and are only subject to the slanted views of their favorite news station on television.
Bills: Bills may seem like a trivial part of life, what could they really tell about ones behavior? Those that pay bills online, who most likely have automatic billing set up and think about their bills very rarely, have more time, energy and brainpower to think of other things. They can focus their energy on making more money instead. I still know people that pay all their bills offline and they actually have a day a month on their schedules to sit down and get their bills in order. A day…I don’t have a day to spare for paying bills.
Product Research: Those doing their research online will have a much larger scope of research, will have a better understanding of the price range of products, will know where to buy the cheapest product, and will be able to save more money than those that don’t do research online or at all. That money saved can be used to create more wealth.
My thoughts here are merely an opinionated view from someone that does everything possible online. Without the Internet I certainly would not be working in the field I work in, nor would I be making any extra income or doing anything more to improve my situation. Many of the opportunities that have presented themselves in my life came from the Internet; be it the connections I have made, the different ways I have found to save money using the Internet or the many ways on the Internet that I have found to make side income. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t found the benefits of the Internet very early on.
What do you think? Does the Internet mean all that much to you?
Image by lecasio