General Demographics Bulleted List
- As with the Third Survey, there were significant differences between European
users and US users, with the European population being younger (average age 29.7)
than the US (average age 33.2). Overall, there was a slight shift towards younger
users since the Third Survey, with the average age moving from 35.0 years old
to 32.7 years old.
- No significant differences between the Weekend and Weekday users age
profiles, though the distributions within the segments does differ slightly.
Weekday users have more users in the 21 to 30 year old range (35.6% Weekday
vs 29.7% Weekend). This was balanced by the Weekend users having more users
in the 41 to 50 year old range (21.3% Weekend vs 17.7% Weekday).
- Unlike the Third Survey, where there were no significant differences between
women and men's age profiles, the average age for women dropped to from 35.15 to
31.8 years old. The average age for men also dropped from 35.05 to 33.1 years old.
- There was a significant increase in women users between the ages of 16 and 20 years
old compared to men (14.2% vs 11.5% men) as well as there being less women above
the age of 46 years old compared to men. Thus, while the Web does not seem to be
attracting as many older women than men, it is drawing a significantly younger crowd.
- Average age across all users (32.7 years old) was down two years
from the Third Survey (35.01 years old). This downward shift brings the
average age of the Web users sampled to those measured in the Second Survey
(31.7 years old). Once again, the youngest users were European (average age
29.7), with the eldest being users Weekend users (average age 33.4).
- Overall, 29.3% of the users were female, 70.7% male The actual numbers are
6842 women and 16,506 men.
- Compared to the last survey (See: Third Survey),
women represent a 15% increase and men a 12% decrease (the last survey had a
"Rather not Say!" option).
- In the US, 32.5% of the users were female, 67.5% male. This represents a
strong shift in the increased acceptance and use of the Web by women. The US
continues to integrate female users into the Web user population faster than
Europe. The percent of US users though is still far from the 52% female
48% male composition of the entire US population (1995 Estimated US Census).
- There are still proportionately more males (89.5%) than females (10.5%) in
Europe. This proportion only changed 2% since the Third Survey.
- For Weekend users, 24.8% of the respondents were female with 75.2% male. These
ratios more so reflect the traditional male dominated field of comuter hobbyists.
- Given the complexity of graphing over 25 different jobs, we are planning on
generating graphs for each major occupation across samples. In the mean time,
the table below looks at all occupations.
Nature of Internet Provider
- This question attempts to try to determine the primary provider of
Internet access to the respondents. Major online providers are Prodigy,
Compuserve, etc., whereas local providers usually only provide connectivity
to a regional area. "Commercial" refers to gaining access through primarily
through work rather than one of the other sources.
- The three main areas of primary Internet providers are: local online
providers (41.6%), educational providers (31.6%) and via work (10.0%).
This represents a significant shift from the Third Survey, with local
online providers gaining 13.8%. This increase was mainly fueled from
a sharp drop in major online providers (8.1% Fourth vs 27.5% Third).
Most of the other categories did not change that dramatically.
- European users no longer predominantly gain access via educational
access points (45.6% Third vs 33.7% Fourth), but still do not gain access
as heavily from local providers as in the US (32.8% Europe vs 40.4% US).
- As one would expect, Weekend users are more reliant upon connectivity
via local providers, (53.5% Weekend vs 38.9% Weekday). Weekday users
tended to have slightly stronger representation in the educational
and work access than overall users.
- The strong increase of women with Educational affiliations as noted
in the Occupation Graphs, is mirrored in the
large number of women who gain Internet access via Educational affiliations
(39.3% female vs 28.4% male). This is a 10% increase from the Third Survey.
- Men are most likely to gain access via local providers (44.6%) followed
by educational (28.4%) and commercial (11.2%) means. Thus it seems that
women are not as likely to seek out Internet access as men, but will readily
use the technology if provided, e.g., via school. This notion is supported
by the findings of Who Pays for Access to the Internet
questions of this survey.
- Given the complexity of graphing over 80 different countries, we are
planning on generating graphs for each major geographical area, e.g. Europe,
US, Canada. This will be done by the end of January or so, though we may
not have time to get to it.
- In the mean time, the table below looks at all countries/states weighted
equally. From this we see that 10.5% of the respondents came from
California, followed by Texas (5.1%), New York (4.5%) and Ontario (4.5%).
Compared to the Third Survey, California is exerting less dominance over
the location of the population. This may very well be attributable to the
wider acceptance of the Web outside of Silicon Valley, the heart of the
computer industry and Internet Companies.
- Attempts to replicate the survey in other countries as well as translated
into multiple languages would definitely assist in the gathering of more
Number of Dependents
- As with the Third Survey, there are more users with two dependents
(16%) than users with
one dependent (14.73%). Only 6.1% report having three or more dependents.
- Of the users with no dependents (61% over all groups), Europeans have
significantly fewer dependents.
- No significant differences were observed between Weekday and Weekend
users with respect to the number of dependents.
- Overall, female users report having less dependents than males -
though this difference is not statistically significant.
- Overall, the distribution of educational attainment has shifted slightly
towards lower levels as indicated by less advanced degrees and more high
school and some college level education. This trend towards more and more
Web users without advanced degrees has continued since the Second Survey,
where for example, over 13% of the users had doctoral degrees (compared to
4% for the Fourth Survey).
- This trend seems to be fueled by the increased number of users who are
in college (from 19% in the Second to 22% in the Third to 28% in the Fourth).
Thus while 73% of the users in the Second Survey had completed college or
higher, now only 55% of the users have achieved the same level of education.
- According to 1993 US Census data, 50.5% of computer users have some
college and 63.4% have a Bachelors degree. Thus, the sampled user population
for the Fourth survey represents a much broader range of users than previously
- Weekend users typically have lower educational attainment than their weekday
- More women have some college (31.0%) and Master's (17.8%) degrees verses
the men users (27.6% some college and 16.7% Master's). Though more men have Doctoral
and Professional degrees (8.7% men vs 5.9% women), The differences
between response distributions across gender has narrowed since the last survey.
How People Heard About the Surveys
- This question attempts to begin to understand the response rates and
various populations on the Internet and Web. This is the second time we
asked the users to inform us how they found out about the current surveys.
We broke the data into groups whom responded via announcements
to newsgroups, other WWW pages, and listservs, etc. to see if these groups
of users are different from one another. This may very well be one of the
most interesting data points for understanding the use of the Web for
- In the Third Survey, we observed very few differences between groups.
This lead us to conclude that if any segment of the Web user population
were excluded, statistically, we'd expect to find similar ratios and response
distributions. In the Fourth Survey, we note that there are more differences
between groups, notably between male and female users. Yet despite these
differences in the means of participation, the Fourth Survey's ratios for
gender are almost exactly those reported by other random number dialing
surveys. This decreases the reliance we formerly placed upon method of
entry as an indicator of bias and increases our confidence in the overall
robustness of the Fourth Survey's results.
- Note, the below percentages may add up to more than 100% as users we
able to select more than one response. Overall, 70%% of the users found out
about the Fourth Survey via other WWW pages, with 12.8% finding out via
"other" sources, and 15.7% finding out via Usenet newsgroup announcement.
Other forms of entry, e.g., friends, listservs, magazines, emailing,
people remembering, and newspapers all had under 2% response rates.
- Weekenders were more likely to enter the survey via links from other
pages (74.1% Weekend vs 98.6% Weekday), while less likely to find out
about the survey via Usenet newsgroups and 'other' sources.
- The three most effective entry points to the survey were: pointers from
other Web pages (61.2% women vs 73.1% men), 'other' sources (16.3% women vs
11.3% men), and Usenet news announcements (21.5% women vs 13.3% men).
- There were no significant differences between the response profiles of
women and men for the following categories: remembering to take the survey,
other Web pages, the newspaper, other sources, listserve announcements,
finding out via friends, magazines, and the www-surveying mailing list.
Given the low effectiveness of all but other Web pages and Usenet news
announcements, most of these differences lead to nominal effects.
- Thus, as stated above, while the surveys do show differences between gender
in the ways that people found out about the surveys, the gender ratios and
other characteristics do not differ unexpectedly from any of the random number
dialing surveys publically reported to date.
Hours Per Week of "Fun" Computing
- Over a third of the users (37.4%) spend under 5 hours/week doing 'fun'
computing with 29.5% spending over 11 hours/week. The other third
(33.0%) spends between 6 and 10 hours/per week fun computing. This
distribution is not change significantly from the Third Survey.
- As with the Third Survey, European users are more likely to spend less
time fun computing that their US counterparts (47.6% vs 36.4%).
- As was observed with Prodigy users in the Third Survey, Weekend
users typically spend more time having fun with their computers than
Weekday users. 29.7% of the Weekend users spend between 11 and 20 hours/week
fun computing compared to only 24% for Weekday users. Comparatively,
39.1% of the Weekday users spend under 5 hours/week fun computing and
30.6% for Weekend users.
- As observed in the Third Survey, women spent less time doing fun
computing than males (76.0% of women spent less than 11 hours/week vs
68.1% for men). This characterization of fits the stereotype that males
are heavy recreational computer users.
Hours Per Week of Computing for Work
- The response profile for US users reflects a very gradual tampering
off of hours per week of computer usage for work purposes. This profile
slopes from 18.8% of the users working with computers under 5 hours/week
to 8.1% of the users working with computers over 51 hours/week.
- Nearly one out of every four Europeans (18.6%) use a computer for work
between 31 and 40 hours/week (US - 15.0% between 31 and 40 hours/week).
The profile for European users has flattened considerably since the
Third Survey, reflecting a broader spectrum of the time spent with computers
in the work place.
- US respondents had over a one in three chance (35.2%) of working with
computers for less than 11 hours/week (Europeans - 26.4% under 11 hours/week).
- Weekend users typically spend less time with computers at work than
users who accessed the survey during weekday hours (23.8% Weekday under
5 hours/week vs 17.0% Weekday).
- Over a third (35.0%) of the Weekday users spent more than 31 hours/week
working with computers compared to 26.5% for Weekend users.
- Given this difference and the increased use of computers for fun by
Weekend users (See Fun Computing), it may just be
that the Weekday users are 'computed' out when it comes time to use
computers for fun.
- Women differed from men in hours/week working with computers in
that they are more likely to use a computer under 11 hours/week (41.0%
female vs 32.6% male), and are less likely to use a computer for over
31 hours/week (28.6% female vs 35.3% male). This less intensive computer use
by women is also reflected in the number of hours/week women spend 'fun'
computing (See: Fun Computing.)
- Since the Web does not easily facilitate access by
users with disabilities, it is not surprising that 91.8% the users do not report
any disabilities. This proportion was consistent between the stratified segments
(location, gender, access time).
- Of the other disabilities reported, 3% claim vision impairments with the
other disabilities (motor, cognitive, hearing, and multiple disabilities)
receiving less than 1% apiece.
- The "Rather not Say!" option accounted for 2.0% of the responses. This
percent of users whom chose not to disclose this type of information is stable
across other questions like Gender (2.5%), etc.
- Compared to the last surveys
Third Survey and
Second Survey), the percent of respondents without impairments has remained quite stable.
For the Third Survey, 91.8% reported no disabilities and for the Second Survey, 95%
reported no disabilities.
- This was the most sensitive question asked in the General Survey, with
15.6% of the respondent choosing to select the "Rather not say!" option -
nearly seven times higher than other similar questions. Interestingly, this was
the same proportion of users as the Third Survey, indicating as somewhat
- The below analyzes were performed by the
Hermes team. The
Hermes team develops and analyzes the consumer attitudes and preferences
portions of these surveys.
- The estimated average income is $63,000 (US dollars), which is slighlty lower than
the Third Survey, which had an estimated income of $69,000. The estimated average
US income is $64,700 which is lower than the Third Survey of $67,600, but still
higher than the estimated average European income of $56,000 ($53,500 Third Survey).
- 18.3% of the women surveyed would "Rather not say!" their income, whereas
14.5% of the men chose this response. This is the exact same proportions as
last time. This, nearly one in five, non-response interferes with robust gender
comparisons between incomes. Female users typically report making less money than
their male counter parts, with the average income for females being $58,900.
- Weekend users have slightly more income than weekday users.
How May Months/Years on the Internet
- Overall, 60.3% of the users have been on the Internet less than 1 year,
with 27.7% being on for less than 6 months. This large proportion of new
users is indicative of the wider acceptance and use of the Internet and
the World Wide Web by the general population.
- Compared to the Third Survey, where 26.9% reported having been on the
Internet for 1 to 3 years, only 11.9% reported this for the Fourth Survey.
Additionally, the percentage of users who have been on the Internet more
than 4 years increased from 23.1% for the Third to 27.9%, indicating that
the traditional Internet users are still present and active.
- The Weekend users tend to be newer users than their Weekday counterparts,
though not by much (30.4% Weekend vs 27.0% Weekday). This diminishes the
notion that Weekend Internet users are composed primarily of very
- The recent adoption of the Internet by women is evident in that
over a third have used the Internet for less than 6 months (36.8%
female vs 23.9% male). A similar spike was observed in the Third
Survey (39.5% females with under 6 months) as well as the time lagged
dependency that this former spike caused - 29.3% of the women reported
being on the Internet between 6 and 12 months compared to 18.6% for
the Third Survey.
- Men are twice as likely to have been on the Internet more than
7 years than females (8.0% men vs 4.0% women). This intuitively makes
sense as the Internet was primarily used in the late 1980's by
computer scientists and other traditionally male dominated fields.
Major Geographical Location
- For classification of location by major geographical location, 76.2% of
the respondents were from the US, 10.2% from Canada & Mexico and 8.4% from
Europe. Compared to the Third Survey (80.6% from the US, 9.8% from Europe,
and 5.8% from Canada & Mexico), this represents a shift towards less of
a US dominance in Web users.
- Additionally, notable increases occurred in most of the other geographical
areas like Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, and Central & South
- There were more Weekend users from Canada and Mexico (12.3% verses
9.6%) than during the Weekdays. This effected the US proportions,
dropping the Weekend US users to 72.2% compared to Weekday users 77.1%.
- As with the Third Survey, percentage wise, more women were from the
US (84.6%) than men (72.7%), though the proportion of women to men was
reversed for all other locations like Europe (10.6% male & 3.0% female).
This trend backs the hypothesis that the US is integrating women into its
user population faster than other countries. It also suggests that as the
Web increases its user population, a more balanced women/men ratio is
- Overall, 41.7% of the users are married, with 40.8% being single. The
users whom reported living with another was 8.8% and those reporting being
divorced was 5%. Europeans were twice as likely to report living with
another person (16.5%) compared to the US (7.6%).
- Compared to the Third Survey, there are more single and less married
Web users. European users were most likely to be single (50.3%) than married
(28.1%). The converse occurs in the US, with 39.1% of US users being
single and 44.2% being married.
- The "Rather not say!" option accounted for 1.9% of the responses, very
similar to other like questions, e.g. Gender.
As with the Third Survey, there are not many widowed or separated
respondents (total 1.6% combined).
- No major differences were observed between Weekend and Weekday
users with respect to marital status.
- As with the Third Survey, women Web users are less likely to be
married than men (37.7% verses 43.5%) and more likely to be
divorced (6.8% verses (4.2%) or living with another person (10.8% verses
7.9%). The response profiles for this question were significantly different.
Number of Computers Owned
- Nearly half the sampled population report owning a single computer
(47.4%), with one in five respondents own two computers (25.2%). Surprisingly,
over 10.5% of the users reported not owning a personal
computer, nearly double the response from the Third Survey (5.9%).
- The differences between US and European users with respect to owning
PCs is not as significant as with the Third Survey, where Europeans were
almost three times more likely (13.1%) not to own a computer than their
US counterparts (4.9%).
- As one would expect, Weekend users reported owning more computers
than Weekday users. 46.6% of the Weekend users own two or more computers
whereas only 41.1% of Weekday users own two or more computers). Weekday
users were nearly twice as likely not to own a computer than Weekend
users (11.5% Weekday vs 6.4% Weekend).
- These numbers along with the hours/week spend having fun with
computers supports the notion that Weekend users tend to be the
computer hobbyists and early adopters of the Web.
- Women are more than twice as likely as men to not own a computer
(17.3% female vs 7.7% male), and more likely to own only one computer
(53.1% female to 45.0% male). The hypothesis that women typically own
fewer computers is backed by 1993 US Census Data.
- Computer (29.1%) and Educational (30.9.7%) occupations still represent
the majority of respondents, though Educational has taken the lead over Computer
occupations on the Web. Professional (19.9%), Management (10.2%), and
"other" occupations (9.8%) fill out the other categories.
- Europeans tend to be predominantly in Education (33.8%) and Computers
(33.6%) were as the US sample contained more Professionals (20.4%).
- Educational responses gained heavily since the Third Survey, 30.9% compared
to 23.7%. This again paints the picture that the Web is no longer dominated
by computer related users and more so by the Educational and
- Weekend users tend to less employed in Computer related jobs (25.5%) and
more so in Management positions (11.5) than the weekday sampled population,
(29.9% and 9.9% respectively) though Educational Weekend users still
dominate in both segments (30.9% Weekday and 30.9% Weekend).
- There is an increase of over 10% in the proportion of women in
Education from the Third Survey (24.2% to 37.1%).
- As with the Third Survey, there are less women in than men in
Computers (20.1% women vs 32.8% men) and Management (9.1% women vs 10.7% men),
but more women in the Educational (37.1% women vs 28.4% men) and "other"
occupation category (12.9% women vs 8.6% men).
Online Services Subscribed To
- Overall, 47.7% of all users do not subscribe to an online service, with
'Other' (25.3%), America Online (17.3%), and Compuserve (15.3.1%) being the
most dominant subscribe online services.
- European subscribe mainly to either no services (54.5%) or services not
listed as part of the question (29.8%). Of the other online services offered,
the only providers receiving notable European responses were Compuserv
(15.3%) and Microsoft Network (6.0%).
- For the US respondents, Delphi (0.9%), Genie (0.6%) and Pipeline (0.8%)
were the least cited subscribed online services.
- Not surprisingly, more Weekday users do not subscribe to online services
than Weekend (48.5% Weekdays 22.4% Weekend). The increased usage by
Weekend users is spread across the online service providers of
'Other' (27.2%), America Online (18.4%), Compuserv (16.6%), Prodigy
(27%.2), Netcom (7.1%), and Microsoft Network (6.3%).
- Overall, there are not large differences between women and men with
respect to the online services subscriptions.
Willingness to Pay Fees for Accesses to WWW Sites
- One of the most stable characteristics of previous surveys has been
that one of five users stated outright that they would not pay for access
to WWW sites. For the Fourth Survey, this segment of the population has
increased from 22.6% in the Third Survey to 31.8% in the Fourth Survey.
- This is indeed alarming for those wishing to apply a subscription
business model to the Web. This may also very well reflect the perceived value
of the material and resources currently available on the Web by its users.
This also places the financial burden upon sites wishing to generate monies
on advertising or other sources. Related, the Fourth Survey reports that
over 3/4 of the sites do not allow advertising (See:
Site Policy Towards Advertising).
- Most users reported that their willingness would depend on both the
cost of access as well as the quality of the material provided (58.7%).
As with the Third Survey, Europeans tend to be slightly more concerned
about the quality of information if they had to pay for access (7.3% Europe
vs 3.2% US).
- There were no statistically significant differences found between the
Weekend and Weekday response distributions for this question. This implies
that as the Web increases its user base, we'd expect to continue to
find that more that a quarter of the users would not pay for access to
- More women were flat-out opposed to paying for access to sites
than in the Third survey (20.5% Third vs 33.7% Fourth). This same
upward rejection of fees was also observed in men (22.7% Third vs
31.0% Fourth). No statistically significant differences were observed
Who Pays for Internet Access
- This is a new question to the surveys, but one that we've often wondered about.
Who exactly is paying for all this access to the Internet? For this questions,
users were able to reply to more than one option.
- Just over half of the users who responded paid for their Internet access themselves
(51.0%). This was followed by users whose access was paid for work (32.7%) and by
school (24.5%). The reliance on parents to pick up the Internet tab was minimal being only
3.8% of all the responses.
- European users typically had their access to the Internet paid for by work
(40.6% Europe vs 32.5% US) rather than by themselves (38.5% Europe vs 51.8% US).
This is inline with the findings from Affiliations findings,
which point out that 40.3% of the US users gain access from local providers.
- As one would expect, Weekend users are more likely to pay for access to the Internet
themselves (63.8% Weekend vs 48.0% Weekday) than have access paid for by work (18.4%
Weekend vs 36.0% Weekday) and via school (21.4 Weekend vs 25.0% Weekday).
- Given the large student and educational affiliation of female users (See:
Occupations and Affiliation)
it is not surprising to see that access to the Internet paid by school is higher for women
(29.7% women vs 22.0% amle). Additionally, more access is paid for by work for women
than men (35.0% women vs 31.8% men), which reinforces the notion that women are not as
likely to seek out and pay for Internet access as men, but will readily use the technology
if provided, e.g., via school or work.
Primary Computing Platform
- Overall, 61.5% of the users who responded used a flavor of windows.
One in five users reported using a Macintosh computer (20.5%), with
there being substantially more US Mac users than European (22.3%
vs 14.1%). European users were heavier users of Unix (14.2% Europe vs
6.8% US; 7.2% overall all responses).
- The distribution of primary computing platforms across all sampled
populations closely resembles computer marketing reports like the NPD Group.
- These number support the hypothesis that the Web is now mid stream in its
evolution, with the first stages being dominated primarily by the
technology developers (UNIX based) followed by wider acceptance by the
"early adopters/seekers" (PC and Mac based) in the later stages.
- Slightly over one in five (20.7%) were using the recently released
windows 95, which lends support to the 'early adopters' profile of
the Web users sampled.
- One out of every four Weekend user reported using windows 95, indicating
that this segment is very eager to adopt new technologies. It is important
to keep in mind tough, that 80% of the respondents were from Weekday users.
The distribution for other platforms was roughly the same for other platforms.
- As with the Third Survey, women are most likely to use Windows
(43.3% women vs 34.6% men). A new twist is there are significantly
more women Macintosh users than men (27.3% women vs 17.7% men).
This also represents a noteworthy increase from the Third Survey
(a 5% increase). As far as Unix machines, men continue to lead in use
(8.3% men vs 4.5% women).
- OS/2 use doubled since the Third Survey, but still represents only
1.7% of the users sampled. All the other platforms (NextStep, VMS, Linux,
DOS) are used by under 5% of the users.
- 83.2% of the respondents are white, with none of the other groups
reporting over 5% of the responses. For the US, 86.0% of the respondents
were white, which corresponds closely to the 1995 Estimated US Census data
of 83.2% for the entire US population.
- Europeans have a higher ratio of 'other' users (23.6%) than the US (2.2%).
The ratio of "Rather not say!" was about twice (4.4%) that of other
- These numbers for race may reflect certain fundamental problems with
the Web and Internet in general: replication of services and multilingual
support. Stated differently, Web users who tried to connect from Asia may
1) not have been able to establish and hold a connection due to
transmission speed and delays 2) the costs involved in participating
and 3) the lack of a survey translated to their native language.
Just the same, we know of no online multilingual survey.
- Percentage wise, here were more white females (85.6%) than males (82.2%).
Share Machine With Others
- This question attempts to understand the ratio of computers on
the Web and the number of users behind each computer. This is really very
tricky stuff, as there is no registration mechanism in place to accomplish
a census of users and randomly sampling computers is essentially spamming
(i.e. not good net behavior). So, take these numbers with a big grain of salt
along with a nice icy cold margaritta or other preferred chilly beverage.
- Overall, slightly over one out of every three users (77.0%) reported that
they shared the use of their computer with others. This
is down 8% from the 85.7% reported in the third survey.
- European users are more likely to be the sole user of their
machine (27.1%) than their US counterparts (22.6%), even though they tend
to own less computers (See: Graphs). This
differences is significantly smaller that that observed in the Third Survey
(Europe 22.3% vs US 12.9%).
- There were no significant differences between Weekend and Weekday
users with respect to machine sharing.
- An even more pronounced difference exists between women and men as
compared to the Third Survey, with 31.7% of the female users report
being the sole users of their machine verses 19.3% males. The Third
Survey reported 19.4% female users verses 13.2% male.