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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Children’s Internet Access at Home

(Last Updated: May 2021)

In 2019, the percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who relied on a smartphone for their home internet access was highest for those whose parents had less than a high school credential (19 percent) and lowest for those whose parents had attained a bachelor’s or higher degree (1 percent).

In 2019, some 95 percent of 3- to 18-year-olds had home internet access, according to the American Community Survey (ACS).1 Specifically, 88 percent had access through a computer,2 and 6 percent relied on a smartphone for home internet access.3,4

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Figure 1. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access, by whether they had access through a computer or only through a smartphone: 2016 and 2019
Figure 1. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access, by whether they had access through a computer or only through a smartphone: 2016 and 2019

1 Percentage of children in homes with both internet access and one or more of the following types of computer: desktop or laptop, tablet or other portable wireless computer, or "some other type of computer." Excludes homes having none of these types of computers. Includes homes having both smartphones and any of these types of computers.

2 Percentage of children in homes with both internet access and smartphones, but with none of the computer types (desktop or laptop, tablet, or other) listed in footnote 1.

NOTE: Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds living in households (respondents living in group quarters such as shelters, healthcare facilities, or correctional facilities were not asked about internet access).

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2016 and 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 702.12.

Figure 2. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access, by child’s race/ethnicity: 2019
Figure 2. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access, by child’s race/ethnicity: 2019

NOTE: Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds living in households (respondents living in group quarters such as shelters, healthcare facilities, or correctional facilities were not asked about internet access). Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 702.12.

Figure 3. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone, by child’s race/ethnicity: 2019
Figure 3. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone, by child’s race/ethnicity: 2019

NOTE: Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds living in households (respondents living in group quarters such as shelters, healthcare facilities, or correctional facilities were not asked about internet access). Includes 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone but did not have any of the following types of computers: desktop or laptop, tablet or other portable wireless computer, or “some other type of computer.” Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 702.12.

Figure 4. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone, by parental education and family income quarter: 2019
Figure 4. Percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone, by parental education and family income quarter: 2019

1 Includes those who completed high school through equivalency credentials, such as the GED.

2 Highest education level of any parent residing with the 3- to 18-year-olds (including an adoptive or stepparent). Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds who resided with at least one of their parents.

3 The lowest quarter refers to the bottom 25 percent of all family incomes; the middle-low quarter refers to the 26th through the 50th percentile of all family incomes; the middle-high quarter refers to the 51st through the 75th percentile of all family incomes; and the highest quarter refers to the top 25 percent of all family incomes.

NOTE: Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds living in households (respondents living in group quarters such as shelters, healthcare facilities, or correctional facilities were not asked about internet access). Includes 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone but did not have any of the following types of computers: desktop or laptop, tablet or other portable wireless computer, or “some other type of computer.” Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 702.12.

Figure 5. Percentage distribution of 3- to 18-year-olds who had no internet access at home, by main reason for not having access: 2019
Figure 5. Percentage distribution of 3- to 18-year-olds who had no internet access at home, by main reason for not having access: 2019

1 Respondents could specify “other” reasons. Examples of other reasons were not provided to respondents.

NOTE: Includes only 3- to 18-year-olds living in homes with no internet access. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). The survey respondent usually is the person who either owns or rents the housing unit. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), November 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 702.40.


1 The American Community Survey (ACS) provides a large monthly sample of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing data comparable in content to the Long Forms of the Decennial Census. Aggregated over time, these data serve as a replacement for the Long Form of the Decennial Census. This indicator uses data from ACS to describe the percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds with home internet access and the percentage with home internet access only through a smartphone in 2019.

2 Refers to the percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds with home internet access through one or more of the following types of computers: desktop or laptop, tablet or other portable wireless computer, or “some other type of computer.” Includes homes having both smartphones and any of these types of computers.

3 Refers to the percentage of 3- to 18-year-olds who had home internet access only through a smartphone but did not have any of the types of computers listed in endnote 2.

4 Detail does not sum to totals because of rounding.

5 The highest quarter refers to the top 25 percent of all family incomes; the middle-high quarter refers to the 51st through the 75th percentile of all family incomes; the middle-low quarter refers to the 26th through the 50th percentile of all family incomes; and the lowest quarter refers to the bottom 25 percent of all family incomes.

6 Data from CPS differ from data from ACS because ACS asked respondents about internet access and explicitly indicated that having a cell phone service is considered having internet access, while CPS asked about internet use and made no explicit reference to having a cell phone service. Due to this survey difference, the two datasets reported different percentages of 3- to 18-year-olds who “did not have access to the Internet” (5 and 13 percent, respectively).

7 These income levels are “less than $10,000,” “$10,000 to $19,999,” “$20,000 to $29,999,” and “$30,000 to $39,999.”

8 These income levels are “$40,000 to $49,999,” “$50,000 to $74,999,” “$75,000 to $99,999,” and “$100,000 or more.”

Supplemental Information

Table 702.12 (Digest 2020): Percentage distribution of children ages 3 to 18, by whether they have home internet access, whether they have access through computer or only smartphone, and selected child and family characteristics: 2016 and 2019;
Table 702.40 (Digest 2020): Percentage of persons age 3 and over and ages 3 to 18 with no internet access at home and percentage distribution of those with no home access, by main reason for not having access and selected characteristics: 2010 and 2019
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