Prepared for

Major Findings:

  • Computer ownership is statistically unchanged from the 1999–2000 survey. Over one-half (53 percent) of all respondents in 2001 report having at least one home computer.
  • The majority of respondents (61 percent) have at least one cellphone. The Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan has the lowest penetration (36 percent), and the City of Detroit and Metro Detroit have the highest penetrations (approximately 70 percent each). And while whites are more likely than African-Americans to own one cellphone (31 percent compared to 19 percent), more African-American than white respondents report owning two or more cellphones (49 percent compared to 28 percent).
  • People are accessing the Internet in increasing numbers. In 2001, almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) reported that they had used the Internet at some point, an 11 percent increase from 1998. Wide variations in Internet use remain, however, by region of Michigan, age, race, and level of education. For example, 91 percent of those under 25 reported ever having been online, compared to just 22 percent of those 65 and older.
  • African-Americans, respondents with only a high school degree, women, and seniors are accessing the Internet in increasing numbers. Large shares of “new” Internet users—those who have been online a year or less—are composed of these groups. Three regions—the Thumb, the City of Detroit, and Northern Michigan—also have larger shares of Internet newcomers.
  • The numbers of people not liking what they see on the Internet has doubled. In 1999, 15 percent of Internet nonusers reported that the reason they did not use the Internet was because what they found was “not worth the time, hassle, or expense.” In 2001, 34 percent responded the same way.
  • Only one in six respondents has a high-speed Internet connection at home. Seventy-one percent of home computers are connected to the Internet via modems and phone lines. Only 2 percent of home computers in Michigan connect to the Internet using an ISDN or DSL high-speed connection, and 14 percent of home computers connect using a cable modem.
  • E-mail continues to be the most frequently used Internet service. Eighty-six percent of respondents report using the Internet for e-mail in the past month, an increase of 17 percent from the original 1998 survey.
  • Purchasing over the Internet has increased dramatically. In 1998, just 11 percent of respondents had made at least one purchase on the Internet. That figure has tripled to 35 percent in 2001.
  • Overall, Michigan residents expressed a positive view of technology in our society. Two-thirds or more of respondents believe computers and the Internet bring people together and help children learn.
  • Online voting is of interest to Michigan citizens. A plurality of respondents (44 percent) would prefer to vote online in the weeks preceding the election, compared to one-third who prefer voting in a booth, and one-fifth who prefer voting by mail. Of those respondents who would prefer to vote online, 45 percent said they would still support such a system, even if it meant higher taxes; however, a statistically equal share (41 percent) said they would not support online voting if taxes were increased to pay for the system.
  • Concerns about Internet privacy and security of information remain high. When asked why they had never purchased anything online, 40 percent of respondents said that they had security or privacy concerns. Furthermore, 78 percent reported that they were very to somewhat concerned that the information provided to computer-based services would not be kept confidential.

A copy of the full report is available below.