Tablet Ownership Soars, Particularly Among Wealthier Americans

By Sean Cavanagh — June 18, 2013 1 min read
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We’ve written about the proliferation of tablets and other computing devices among families, and in schools. Now, a nationwide survey examines tablet ownership among the overall adult population, and offers yet another indication that the use of those tools has jumped significantly over the past year.

Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults ages 18 and older own a tablet, such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus, or Kindle Fire—up from 18 percent who owned one roughly a year ago, according to a survey released this month by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Ownership of tablets was linked with educational attainment, and wealth. Forty-nine percent of adults with a college degree were likely to own a tablet, compared with just 17 percent of adults who had not finished high schools. Similarly, 56 percent of adults in households with incomes of at least $75,000 had tablets, compared with just 38 percent of adults earning $50,000-$75,000, and 20 percent earning less than $30,000.

While the survey doesn’t address tablet use among students, it would seem to suggest children from families of greater means are more likely to be exposed to up-to-date technology at home. Among parents with a minor child living at home, tablet use jumped from 26 percent to 50 percent over the past year.

(Those numbers seem to correlate with figures released in a survey earlier this year by Grunwald Associates, LLC, which found that among 46 percent of households nationwide, someone in the family owned a tablet, and 34 percent of their children used a tablet. The numbers were significantly higher for smartphones and portable computers.)

The results are based on phone interviews conducted earlier this year among a sample of 2,252 adults. For results based on the total sample, the error attributable to the sampling is 2.3 percentage points, according to Pew.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.