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Comparison of Data on Computer and Internet Use in the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey: 2013

Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2017-11
Camille Ryan and Kurt Bauman
Component ID: #ti1787290982

Introduction

This report compares national-level data about computer use, Internet access and types of Internet subscriptions from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) to the 2013 Current Population Survey (CPS). The Current Population Survey has collected data about computer use since 1984 and about Internet access since 1997.  The American Community Survey began collecting data about computer and Internet access in 2013. These two surveys sometimes provide differing estimates of the prevalence of computer ownership and Internet use in the U.S.  We highlight differences in both the number and percentage of households and people with these characteristics. Second, we discuss possible problems in collecting accurate data on mobile broadband use. Because changes were made to the ACS questionnaire beginning in 2016, the analysis here only applies to ACS data collected in 2013 to 2015. Data about computer and Internet use are not collected for those living in group quarters such as prisons, dormitories, and nursing homes. Therefore, this analysis only includes those living in households.

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