Overall, U.S. consumers in rural markets adopt new technology slower than consumers in urban markets. However, as Pew Research Center noted in a 2019 publication, "rural Americans have made large gains in adopting digital technology over the past decade." One reason contributing to the slower adoption of new technology in rural markets is a lack of infrastructure for quality, fast-speed internet.
internet adoption rates/usage
- This year (2019), 63% of rural American adults have home broadband internet compared to 75% of urban American adults with the same. In 2016, 63% of rural Americans had home broadband internet compared to 73% of all U.S. adults.
- In further regard to the adoption rate for home broadband internet, way back in 2001, just 3% of U.S. adults in rural markets had home broadband internet. In contrast, 9% of urban adults in the U.S. did. In 2002, the gap further widened, as 6% of rural adults had home broadband internet compared to the 18% of urban adults who did.
- In further regard to home broadband internet, in 2003, 9% of rural adults had such while 21% of urban adults did. In 2004, 16% of rural adults had home broadband internet compared to the 29% of urban adults who did. Lastly, in 2005, 24% of rural adults had home broadband internet, while 38% of urban adults did.
- Internet usage is also less frequent among rural Americans compared to urban/suburban Americans. Among rural Americans, 76% "use the internet on at least a daily basis" while that rate is 83% among urban Americans. Lastly, rural Americans are also more likely to never use the internet, as 15% reported such compared to the 9% of urban Americans who reported the same.
smartphone, tablet, and laptop adoption rates/usage
- This year (2019), 71% of rural Americans have a smartphone compared to the 83% of urban Americans who have one. In 2016, 67% of rural Americans had a smartphone compared to the 77% of all U.S. adults who did. Back in 2011, 21% of rural adults had a smartphone, while 38% of urban adults did.
- As of February 2019, 24% of rural Americans have a cellphone that's not a smartphone, compared to 13% of urban Americans with the same. (2)
- Interestingly, this year (2019), 49% of both rural and urban American adults have a tablet. Despite having the same present adoption rate, such rate has been swifter among urban Americans overall, as 53% of all U.S. adults had a tablet in 2016 compared to the 43% of rural Americans who did.
- In further regard to the adoption rate for tablets, back in 2011, 4% of urban Americans had a tablet, while just 1% of rural Americans did. Furthermore, the adoption rate between 2011 and 2019 has been slightly faster among urban Americans, though it has generally been close overall through the years.
- This year (2019), 69% of rural Americans have a laptop, while 73% of urban Americans do. Despite the similarity of those present values, the adoption rate has been faster over the years among urban Americans, as 73% had a laptop back in 2008 compared to 61% of rural Americans. In 2016, 70% of rural Americans had either a laptop or desktop computer, while 78% of all U.S. adults had the same.
- The new tech adoption rates are also lower for rural Americans with regard to "hav[ing] multiple devices or services that enable them to go online." In support thereof, 31% of rural Americans have all of the following tech: (1) A laptop or desktop, (2) a tablet, (3) in-home broadband connection, and (4) a smartphone. In comparison, that rate among suburban Americans is 43% (percentage for urban Americans category not provided by that source, which is why we included the rate for suburbanites).
Your Research Team Applied the Following Strategy:
We compiled the information presented above by consulting reputable research sources that conducted surveys on new technology adoption rates among rural and urban markets in the U.S. The prominent source that we used was Pew Research Center, as that was the controlling source for much of the statistics available regarding this topic (other sources cited Pew's data, which showed it's a top source). All the research findings we included pertain to U.S. adults because they were the individuals surveyed as part of the research projects discussed in the reports we found. The data we found clearly demonstrates that U.S. consumers in rural markets adopt new technology slower than those in urban markets, which is how we came to that overall conclusion.