Report: 13 million more people used the internet in 2023 compared to 2021

Robin Layton

Jun 21, 2024 — 2 min read

Person using computer during the Holidays

The digital divide of who has access to and can afford internet is closing slowly in the U.S. 

The latest Internet Use Survey by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) showed that 13 million more people used the internet in 2023 than in 2021. 

The people most affected by internet affordability and availability grew the most with the ability to use the internet, with households making less than $25,000 a year jumping from 69% use in 2021 to 73% in 2023. Also, 83% of American Indians and Alaska Natives used the internet in 2023, up from 75% in 2021.

It may only be a two percent gain, but it does signal that the push for internet access for all in the U.S. is having an impact: 12% of people lived in households without any internet connection in 2023, compared with 14% in 2021.

Type of internet connections

The way people connect to the internet also changed, with 72% of people living in households with both fixed and mobile Internet connections in 2023, up from 69% in 2021. That said, the report showed a disparity in access to multiple connections.

“Persons in lower-income households remained considerably less likely than their higher-income counterparts to have both fixed and mobile connections and were more likely to either have no household connections or be mobile-only.”

  • 80% of households making $100,000 or more yearly had fixed and mobile connections.
  • Only 54% of those in households making less than $25,000 had both

Device access

Some Americans are less likely than others to have access to laptop or desktop computers or tablets: 

  • 72% of White non-Hispanics and 71% of Asians used a desktop, laptop or tablet in 2023.
  • But only 62% of Black Americans, 57% of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and 54% of Hispanics used a desktop, laptop or tablet.
  • 25% of Hispanics are smartphone-only users, as well as
  • 22% of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and
  • 16% of Black Americans.
  • That’s compared with 12% each of White non-Hispanics and Asians.

Future of internet access

With the demise of the Affordable Connectivity Program in early 2024 and a recently canceled Congressional vote on reinstating it, millions of Americans are scrambling to afford their internet service. 

Several ISPs offer low-income internet plans for eligible households, starting at $14.99/mo. for up to 100 Mbps. 

Check out Allconnect’s Native American internet guide for other options as well. 

Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site … Read more