Skip Navigation

Computer and internet use

What data do you have on the use of computers and the Internet?


Overall Use

In 2015, 94 percent of children ages 3 to 18 had a computer at home and 61 percent of children ages 3 to 18 had internet access at home. The percentages of children with computer and internet access at home in 2015 were higher for children who were older, those whose parents had higher levels of educational attainment, and those whose families had higher incomes. Also, higher percentages of children who were White (66 percent), Asian (63 percent), and of Two or more races (64 percent) had home internet access in 2015 than did Black (53 percent), Hispanic (52 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native children (49 percent).

For those children who had access to the Internet in 2015, the two locations with the highest reported levels of internet access were at home (86 percent) and at school (65 percent), and the two most common means of internet access at home were a high-speed internet service and a mobile internet service or data plan.

In 2015, about 88 percent of 8th-graders and 83 percent of 4th-graders reported that they used a computer at home, and 80 percent of 8th-graders reported using a computer for schoolwork on a weekday. The percentages of students using a computer at home and using a computer for schoolwork varied by student and family characteristics.

Barriers in Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom

In 2015, the two main reasons children ages 3 to 18 lacked access to the Internet at home were that access was too expensive and that their family did not need it or was not interested in having it. Internet access being too expensive was more commonly the main barrier for children from low-income families and for children whose parents had low levels of educational attainment than for other children.

In addition, 5- to 17-year-old students' access to fixed broadband service1 at home differed by geographic locale. A higher percentage of students in suburban areas had fixed broadband access at home than students in rural areas, with the largest difference noted for students in remote rural areas.

Within locale types, there were additional gaps among students of different poverty levels and racial/ethnic groups. For example, in remote rural areas the percentages of students who had either no internet access or only dial-up access at home were higher for Black (41 percent) and Hispanic students (26 percent) than for White (13 percent) and Asian students (11 percent).

Also, a lower percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch reported that they had a digital device in their home, or that they first used a computer prior to first grade, than their peers who were not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

1 Fixed broadband (of any sort) excludes mobile broadband, but includes all other non-dial-up internet service, such as DSL, cable modem, fiber-optic cable, and satellite internet service.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom (NCES 2017-098), Executive Summary.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

Other Resources:  (Listed by Release Date)