14% of Michigan homes lack Internet, Census says

By Julie Mack
MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

MICHIGAN — About 14 percent of Michigan households were not connected to the Internet in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

But those numbers are changing: In 2013, it was 23 percent, the Census numbers show.

The numbers vary considerably by geography, age, race, income and educational attainment.

The Census released county- and local-level Internet service data today, as part of their five-year rolling estimates for 2013-17.

Below is a closer look at the Census Bureau’s data on Internet service and computer ownership.

The map below shows the percentage of households with an Internet subscription, based on the Census Bureau’s rolling five-year estimate for 2013-17. The numbers include households with a residential Internet subscription and/or cellular data plan.

Michigan about average compared to other states

About 84 percent of all Americans households had some type of Internet subscription in 2017.

Below is a Census Bureau map showing its estimates of Internet subscriptions by county.

Rural areas had lowest broadband subscription rates

Based on the 2013-17 averages, the average “completely rural” U.S. county had a household broadband internet subscription rate of 65 percent compared to 67 percent percent in “mostly rural” counties, and 75 percent in “mostly urban” counties.

(The 12 “completely rural” counties in Michigan: Arenac, Antrim, Baraga, Benzie, Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Lake, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda and Ontonagon. All are in northern lower Michigan or the Upper Peninsula.)

Majority of households pay for 2 or more Internet services

About 58 percent of Michigan households pay for a cellular data plan for smartphones as well as an Internet service connection specifically for their home, the 2017 Census estimates show.

About 12 percent of households only have a cellular data plan, and another 12 percent have only the home Internet service with no mobile plan.

About 3 percent get Internet at home without paying for a plan, and 14 percent do not have Internet access at home.

Only 0.4 percent had dial-up Internet service in 2017.

90 percent of Michigan households have a computer

About 90 percent of Michigan households had at least one smartphone or computer — which includes 7 percent who do not have Internet access in their home.

You can see the ownership numbers below, based on 2017 Census estimates for Michigan. (Remember, this is per household vs. per individual.)

Smartphones are the most common computer device, followed by laptops or desktops.

About 72 percent of Michigan households have at least one smartphone as well as another type of computer.

Having Internet service varies considerably by income

Michigan households with an income of at least $75,000 are a third more likely to have some type of Internet plan than households with an income of less than $20,000, Census data shows.

Although low-income households have the lowest rates of Internet plans, they are showing the fastest increases.

In 2015 among Michigan households with an income under $20,000, more than half — 52 percent — did not have any Internet service in 2017, including a cellular data plan. That dropped to 39.5 percent by 2017.

About 22 percent of Michigan black residents do not have Internet

By Michigan’s African-American residents are least likely to have Internet access at home, and Asian residents are most likely.

27 percent of senior citizens don’t have home Internet

In 2017, 27 percent of Michigan residents age 65 and older lived in a household without Internet, the Census data shows.

About a third of those senior citizens without Internet owned at least one computer, the data shows.

By comparison, about 92 percent of Michigan children live in a household with Internet.

Internet access increases with educational attainment

Michigan residents who did not finish high school are much less likely to have Internet access in their home compared to those with more education, the Census data shows.

A century ago, only 35 percent of U.S. households had telephone service

To offer some historical perspective: In 1920, 65 percent of American households lacked phone service — and as recently as 1960, 22 percent of U.S. homes still didn’t have a telephone, showing how much the nation has progressed in terms of communication technology.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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