Some 69% of all Americans have used the internet to cope with the recession as they hunt for bargains, jobs, ways to upgrade their skills, better investment strategies, housing options, and government benefits. That amounts to 88% of internet users.
The internet ranks high among sources of information and advice that people are seeking during hard times, especially when it comes to their personal finances and economic circumstances. Broadband users are particularly likely to use the internet more than some other sources. At the same time, broadcast media outpace the internet as sources of news about national economics and broadcast sources still overshadow the internet among all Americans for information and advice related to their personal financial circumstances.
Most people consult multiple sources of information and support as they are trying to devise personal strategies to meet challenging times. They are "networking" through family, friends, experts, and information sources as they try to make sense of what has happened to the economy and the policy solutions that are proposed.
The 52% of Americans who have been hard hit by the recession – those who have seen their investments and house values plummet, or faced struggles in the job market – are in key respects different information seekers than those who have not been seriously affected.
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between March 26 to April 19, 2009, among a sample of 2,253 adults, 18 and older. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,687), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. For results based on online economic users (n=1,475), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
A combination of landline and cellular random digit dial (RDD) samples was used to represent all adults in the continental United States who have access to either a landline or cellular telephone.