DATA shows fewer Oklahoma homes have Internet access

Thursday, September 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma lags behind the rest of the nation in the number of households that have computers and the number of those computers that are tied to the Internet, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.

The Current Population Survey, a monthly Census Bureau survey, found that, nationwide, 51 percent of households had computers and 41 percent had Internet access. Among Oklahoma households, only 42 percent had computers and 34 percent had Internet access.

The survey included about 50,000 households, including 730 in Oklahoma. The survey's margin of error is about 0.4 percentage point for the national estimates. Because of the smaller sample size, the margin of error for Oklahoma estimates is about 4 percentage points.6

The survey found that higher incomes and the presence of children make it more likely that a household will have a computer with Internet access.

Oklahoma trails the nation both in median household income _ $33,448 for Oklahoma compared with $41,343 nationwide _ and households with children _ 35.7 percent for Oklahoma compared with 36 percent nationwide.

But the survey found that Oklahoma children probably are just as likely as children nationwide to go online at home. The difference in reported Internet use at home among children age 3 to 17 _ 30 percent nationally compared with 29 percent in Oklahoma _ is within the survey's margin of error.

But Oklahoma trailed the nation in the percentage of children age 6 to 17 who said they used the Internet at school _ 15 percent compared with 23 percent nationally.

State education officials said that contradicts a recent study of Internet access in Oklahoma public schools. An October survey found that more than 80 percent of public school classrooms had Internet access.

Phil Applegate, director of technology and telecommunications for the state Education Department, said widespread Internet access is still new to Oklahoma schools.

``It's really grown dramatically in the last three years. A lot of teachers are probably just getting Internet access in their classrooms up and running,'' Applegate said.

The Census Bureau survey found that e-mail was the most popular use of the Internet. Of those with Internet access, 88 percent of adults and 73 percent of children said they use it to send e-mail.

Among children, school research was the second most popular Internet use at 68 percent. That was followed by searching for information, 33 percent; checking news, weather or sports, 20 percent; and games and entertainment, 11 percent.

Among adults, the second most popular Internet use was searching for information, 64 percent. That was followed by checking news, weather or sports, 52 percent; shopping or paying bills, 40 percent; job-related tasks, 34 percent; school research, 24 percent; and job hunting, 20 percent.