25 September 2000

Low-income families spend more time on the internet at home, according to a Nielsen/NetRatings study.

Although nearly half the population is without web access, of people who do, those earning $21-33,000 spend most time online.

This category covers blue-collar, farming and service occupations. They spent on average 11-12 hours on the web in June, compared to a 9% national average. People with incomes of $53-136,000 actually spent the least time online.

NetRatings senior analyst Peggy O’Neill claimed the divide reflected internet access at work for higher income bands. Those in service or blue-collar jobs, without such access, could only go online at home.

She added, “When lower socio-economic groups get online, they do find sites relevant to them and spend a disproportionate amount of time there”.

Those who spent most time on the web tended to visit entertainment and shopping sites, whereas more affluent users preferred financial sites.

The study used a target marketing system called Prizm, which labels US households according to racial and socio-economic types.

News source: New York Times