The Internet’s impact on users’ lives has grown during the past five years, but that impact is greater in some areas than in others, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
According to the survey, 35 percent of Internet users said being online has greatly improved their ability to do their jobs, up from 24 percent in March 2001. The job category saw a lower growth rate than other areas.
In the category of respondents’ personal lives, the growth rate was higher. For example, 33 percent reported that being online has greatly improved the way they pursue their hobbies and interests, up from 20 percent five years ago.
The resources and services available on the Web have exploded since 2001, but at the same time it’s become harder to make an impression on users, says Mary Madden, a research specialist at Pew. Also, occasional users may not know about things on the Internet that could change the way they live, Madden adds. Daily users are much more likely to report that being online has a major impact on the way they do things.
Internet use is still more common among wealthier people, but the gap is narrowing, Madden says. “Much of the growth that has occurred in the past year alone has come from low-income groups,” she says.