John Suler's The Psychology of Cyberspace
This article dated May 05 (v1.1)

Internet Demographics 1998

"Just the Facts"

Ed Katkin, my advisor in graduate school, used to say that there are two types of researchers: lumpers and splitters. Lumpers look for universal rules and valid generalizations about human behavior. Splitters are more interested in studying how individuals differ from each other. Many of the discussions in this hypertext book The Psychology of Cyberspace comes from the splitter's perspective. Much of it is based on psychological theory and conceptualization. Sometimes, however, it's nice just to have the hardcore facts about the people who inhabit the internet. The statistics below are Nielsen/NetRatings from a story in Internet World and were reported by John Grohol to the Psychology of the Internet mailing list. It's been several years since I first posted these stats here in The Psychology of Cyberspace, so they are dated now. Nevertheless, in addition to being an interesting glimpse into the past, such statistics raise important questions about how demographic factors might influence the social dynamics of cyberspace, as well as how cyberspace reflects the global culture. You can read the statistics for yourself and come to your own conclusions. Here and there, as indicated by the links, I've taken the liberty of adding my 2 cents (these pop-up windows may not work with all browsers). Whenever we evaluate statistics like these, we should keep in mind the problem of "sampling bias" - i.e., did the survey method result in a sample that is an accurate representation of all people on the internet? Mark Twain once said, "There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies.... and statistics."

Number of Americans Online: 76 million Male: 52.7%
Total people worldwide: 149 million Female: 47.3%

0-17 19.1%
18-24 11.3%
25-34 19.1%
35-44 23.0%
45-54 17.2%
55-64 6.7%
65+ 3.7%
$0-25k 6.4%
$25-50k 25.8%
$50-75k 28.6%
$75-100k 17.5%
$100-150k 10.4%
$150-$1m 4.9%
No response 6.4%

Grammar school 1.5%
Some H.S. 5.7%
H.S. graduate 18.8%
Some college 20.9%
Associate degree 9.5%
Bachelor's degree 25.1%
Post-graduate degree 16.9%
No response 1.6%
White 83.5%
African-American 8.0%
Asian 2.1%
American Indian 1.0%
Other 4.0%
No response 1.9%

North American 55.5%
Western Europe 23.3%
Asia Pacific 15.5%
Eastern Europe/Russia 2.0%
Latin America 1.8%
Middle East/Africa 1.9%

back to the Psychology of Cyberspace home page