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Survey: More homes have computers


But games more popular than Internet

October 12, 1996
Web posted at: 6:45 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- The number of computer owners in the United States has more than tripled since 1982, with nearly half the country now owning a PC. But a third of the public never uses computers and has no plans to purchase one within the next five years, according to a recent survey.


The study found that 42 percent of Americans own a PC, and another 28 percent said they would most likely buy one within five years. Just over half of all households with children under 18 have computers. In 1982, only 13 percent of Americans owned one.

But while more and more Americans are putting computers in their homes, 31 percent of those polled said they were unlikely to purchase a PC within the next five years and 34 percent said they never even use one.

The survey of 750 adults was conducted September 19-22 by Yankelovich Partners Inc. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Results based on subgroups have a larger margin of error.


Among computer users, eight out of 10 said they use their electronic think-boxes for word processing, and seven out of 10 play games on their PCs. More than half of those polled use their PC to do schoolwork or office work at home, and nearly 50 percent use their computers daily.

But only 34 percent use their computers to get on the Internet, with men surfing the Net nearly twice as much as women. A striking difference among Net surfers also exists between baby boomers and generation Xers. A majority of computer owners under the age of 30 are wired, while only 28 percent of computer owners ages 30 to 49 use the Internet.


Speaking of the Net, more than half of those polled said a married person who trades sexually oriented messages over the Internet is committing adultery. Sixty-one percent of women polled said it's the same as being unfaithful to a spouse; 49 percent of men agreed.

Meanwhile, a majority of people who don't own a computer said they simply don't want one, while another third said computers cost too much.

But those who own a computer swear by them. Thirty percent said their lives are much better because of their PCs, and another 57 percent said their lives are somewhat better.


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