The Engaged E-patient Population

  • August 26, 2008
  • By Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Pew Internet, and American Life Project

This Pew Internet Project survey confirms that information gathering has become a habit for many Americans, particularly those in the 55% of households with broadband connections. Home broadband has now joined educational attainment, household income and age as the strongest predictors of internet activity. For example, 78% of home broadband users look online for health information, compared with 70% of home dial-up users. Home broadband users are twice as likely as home dial-up users to do health research on a typical day -- 12% vs. 6%.

High-speed, always-on connections enable frequent and in-depth information searches, which is particularly attractive if something important is at stake.

And the searches aren't confined to medical issues. In politics, for example, more people are paying attention to this presidential campaign than they did to any other recent election. Seven in 10 registered voters say they have given "quite a lot of thought" to the coming presidential election, and many are going online to spread news and information about their candidate of choice or the race in general.

Read the full report The Engaged E-patient Population on the Pew Internet & American Life Project.