Economic Perspective: Who’s Online?

NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Dr. Mike Walden working in a recording studio.


“Today’s program asks, ‘Who’s online?’ Mike, use of the Internet and social media has exploded in recent years. It’s changing the way we shop, communicate, advertise and even interact with political campaigns. Do we have the results from any studies indicating what groups are more likely to engage in online interaction?”


“This is obviously a topic of interest to everyone, and we do have a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research comparing Internet use in 2013 to 2008. They came up with some very, very interesting results here. First of all, if you look at who spends time online, as your income goes up you actually spend less time online. Someone earning one-hundred thousand dollars or more spends twenty percent less time on the Internet, on social media et cetera than someone earning under fifteen thousand. That’s very interesting.”

“Another finding that they found was that despite the expansion of online opportunities and devices, the average amount of time that a person spends hasn’t really changed much or didn’t really change much between 2008 and 2013. Also, they found that people still concentrate their time online to a few sites. Now those sites might change over time, but it’s the popular sites that most people go to.”

“Lastly, in terms of age, what they found was as we might expect. The younger folks, folks twenty-five and under, spend more time online than people older, but the second highest usage is middle-aged households between fifty and fifty-five. They come in second in terms of time online to the very young.”


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