Where a person lives is also a factor in whether he is online or not. Residents of rural America are less likely than urban or suburban residents to have Internet access. Much of the difference between the three types of communities can be accounted for in rural citizens’ high rate of non-computer use. Some 42% of rural residents do not use computers, compared to 34% of suburbanites and 31% of urban dwellers. Of those who use computers but elect not to go online, the smallest group, by percent of population, is in the suburbs (12% of suburban dwellers do this compared to 16% of city folks and 15 percent of those who live in rural areas).
Urbanites who are not online are the most likely to say that they probably or definitely will go online (43% say that) while the suburbanites who aren’t online are the most likely to say that they won’t be going online (59% say they probably or definitely will not get Internet access). One possible explanation for these differences is that suburbanites have been exposed to idea of Internet access for relatively long periods of time compared to residents of some urban communities and rural regions. That means that those suburbanites who do not want Internet access have had a relatively long period of time to make up their minds not to log on and are firmer in their beliefs that the Internet has no great value to them.
For the most part, urban, suburban and rural non-users share similar attitudes towards the Internet. The one major difference between groups is on whether the Internet is confusing and hard to use. Pluralities of urban and suburban folk (41% and 40%) say that it isn’t confusing, while a plurality of rural dwellers (39%) say that it is confusing. All non-user groups show relatively high levels of belief that the Internet is dangerous, though rural non-users are more fearful (57%) than their urban (49%) and suburban (54%) counterparts.