U.S. Census Bureau tracks Americans' computer use through 3 decades

Feb. 3, 2014 at 6:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- America's -- and Americans' -- relationship with computers and the Internet has radically changed in the last 30 years, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.

In 1997, 18 percent of U.S. households has Internet access, but by 2012 that figure had reached almost 75 percent, data from the bureau's Current Population Survey released Monday indicate.

Households with a computer in the home jumped from 8.2 percent in 1984 to 78.9 percent in 2012, the survey shows.

In 1984, 59 percent of home computer users were learning on a Commodore 64, that year's most popular home computer.

It came equipped with 54 kilobytes of random access memory compared with a current iPhone, which has 16,000 times the RAM.

In 2012 94.8 percent of households with a computer used it to connect to the Internet.

The survey also looked at smartphone usage in 2012, finding 37.7 percent of owners used them to send email; 36.8 percent browsed the Web, 29.6 percent used a mapping app; 28.1 percent said they regularly downloaded apps; 26.2 percent connected to social media on their phone; 25.1 percent listened to music and 21.7 percent played games on their phones.

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