Population Breakdown of Net Users

The Web population is diverse -- but who, exactly, uses it and how? "Exploring The World Wide Web Population's Other Half," a survey conducted by SRI breaks the population down into groups divided by age, occupation and consumer status.

Generation X netizens account for 31% of overall Web use, attesting to our force in the emerging technological society. It remains to be seen if our numbers will remain as strong when "educational Internet-access subsidies" no longer fund us.

"Upstream" users vs. "The Other Half"

The primary distinction made by the survey is between the "upstream" audience, the"upscale, technically oriented academics and professionals that ride on a varity of institutional subsidies," and the "other half," or the more diverse members of society outside academia and technological professions. SRI notes that while "upstream" users comprise 50% of the current Web population, they represent only 10% of the U.S. population. At the same time, the other 50% of the Web population is made up of "the other half" users who constitute 90% of the U.S. population. It is interesting to note, however, that the gender make-up of Web use between the two segments is equal at 70% male and 30% female. Surprisingly, education reported by survey respondents between the two segments is also similar: 97% of upstream users and 89% of other-half users have completed at least some college education. 70% of the other-half population reported ages under 30.


SRI provides a further breakdown of the Web population, creating categories for users of different ages, backgrounds, and consumer-status.

Actualizers represent the upstream audience.

"They are highly educated and work in academic or technical fields (technical professionals, scientists, and professors were the top three job categories)" (SRI).

Their primary motivation for Web use is work related.

They are "active, discriminating, adventurous, in the prime of life, and nearing the peak of occupational income" (SRI).

They are strong consumers.

They account for 50% of Web use.

Strivers are the first Gen Xers segment of the Web population.

They, like the Experiencers, are under- or recent graduates "working in technical, managerial, or professional fields" (SRI).

They spend the most time on the Web.

They are faddish consumers.

They account for 13% of Web use.

Experiencers are the second component of the GenX contingent.

They do not believe that the internet is as useful as the media claims it to be.

As consumers, they are "innovative, stimulation seeking, and fashionable" (SRI).

They represent 18% of Web use.

Fulfilleds are between the ages of 35-45.

They have difficulty using the Web, reporting the highest frustration level of any of the segments.

They are cautious consumers, making choices based on research.

They account for 11% of the Web population.

Acheivers are "stable, upscale, and family-oriented," typically white-collar (SRI).

They are predominantly female.

They are "the most time-pressured consumers" (SRI).

They represent only 6% of Web use.

Believers, Makers, and Strugglers lacking education, financial resources, occupational necessity, and technological inclination.

They are the "have-nots" of the Web. [link to Lydia's section, maybe a definition, if she's got it]

They account for a mere 2% of the Web population.

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