Washington ranks third among states in computer, Internet use
Washington ranked third among the states for the percentage of residents with access to the Internet and computers at home.
Seattle Times staff reporter
How wired is Washington?
Nine in 10 residents here age 3 or older lived in a home with a computer in 2010, and 84 percent of them could access the Internet from home — ranking Washington ahead of the nation and third among the states and the District of Columbia, according to census data.
Only in Utah and New Hampshire did residents use computers and the Internet at higher rates than in Washington.
For the past 26 years, through its Current Population Survey, the Census Bureau has periodically inquired about the nation's Internet and computer access, as use of both has exploded everywhere.
In its most recent survey, the census found that nationally in 2010, 80 percent of people lived in a home with a computer and 75 percent had Internet access in that home.
While the census doesn't issue the report every year, the state's rankings have remained fairly consistent since the bureau began doing the survey in 1984.
In 2001, for example, 66 percent of all Washington households had a computer and 60 percent had Internet access. Washington ranked third then, too.
Even as the price of computers has dropped and competition has driven down the cost of Internet service, access to both still varies geographically and is based on various social and economic factors.
Urban households, for example, are more likely to be wired than rural areas, and states in the North and West more likely than Southern states.
In 2010, eight of the 10 states with the lowest rates of both computer and Internet access were spread across the South, while those at the top included such states as Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey and Maryland.
Ironically, California, home of the Silicon Valley, was ranked 22nd for Internet access and 21st for computer access at home.
When it came to handheld computer devices, such as smartphones, Washington fell a few notches down the list.
Just more than 27 percent of residents say they have such a device. Alaska, Utah, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., had higher rates.
Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @turnbullL.