This summer, NTIA reported initial results from our latest NTIA Internet Use Survey, which showed that Americans were increasingly using a larger and more varied range of devices. But with dozens of topics covered in the survey, there is a lot more we can learn from this data collection, including questions about online activities such as checking email, watching videos and participating in the sharing economy.
Two online activities of particular importance right now are remote work and taking online classes. Our data show that approximately 51 million Americans reported using the Internet to work remotely in 2019, nearly a third of the estimated 160 million Americans who were employed in November. A smaller number, about 43 million Americans, said they used the Internet to take classes or complete job training last year. That represents about 20 percent of Internet users ages 15 or older.
Although our survey was conducted in November 2019, a few months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the results can be helpful to understanding the extent to which Americans were prepared to work and learn online.
For more than 25 years, NTIA has been surveying the American public about its computer and Internet use, in partnership with the Census Bureau.
Our most recent NTIA Internet Use Survey went into the field in November 2019, with more than 50 questions administered to approximately 50,000 households across the United States. The survey covers a range of topics related to digital inclusion and similar issues, with the goal of informing Internet policy analysis and development that can help to bridge the digital divide.
In anticipation of conducting future surveys, NTIA is seeking recommendations from the public about how we can improve our survey and make it as relevant as possible. Are there questions we previously asked that should be changed or deleted? Are there any questions that we should be adding? We want to hear from you.
After digesting your comments, NTIA will draft a revised survey instrument to use in the future. Beginning this fall, experts from the Census Bureau will conduct cognitive testing of our draft survey, which will help us learn what questions may cause confusion or elicit inaccurate responses. Census will recommend changes aimed at addressing any problems uncovered during this process.