If You’re Reading This, You’re Part of the 93%

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021, seven percent of U.S. adults do not use the Internet.

As I read the article, no where did it state what percent of U.S. adults do use the Internet, so I decided to see if I could my math skills to help me figure it out.

The hardest part was trying to set up the problem properly, but I finally came up with the following, figuring that all U.S. adults had to fall into one of two categories:

  • adults who use the Internet
  • adults who do not use the Internet

These two categories together had to add up to 100% of U.S. adults.

Having determined that, I was able to generate the following formula:

( % of adults who use the Internet) + ( % of adults who do not use the Internet) = 100%

I then made the following substitutions:

A = % of adults who use the Internet

B= % of adults who do not use the Internet

and rewrote the formula as follows:

A + B = 100%

I then replaced “B” with the number from the Pew Research study (7%) and came up with the following equation:

A + 7% = 100%

I then subtracted 7% from each side as follows:

A + (7% – 7%) = (100% – 7%)

and after getting out my calculator I arrived at:

A = 93%

Finally, substituting back in for A, I arrived at the following

% of adults who use the Internet = 93%

The press release announcing the finding that seven percent of U.S. adults do not use the Internet could have saved us a lot of time if they had also told us that 93% of U.S. adults do use the Internet.

I think I will send Pew this blog post in case they want to revise their story, and provide a reference for how the 93% was arrived at.

P.S. I did ask my students to check my logic and my math, and most of them said everything appeared OK. There were a couple of students who asked what happened to “B” in my equation, and a couple who said they got 107% when they solved for A. I’ll go with the majority on this one…

P.P.S. Kids – I hope this shows you that those skills you are learning in school will come in handy later in life…


50 thoughts on “If You’re Reading This, You’re Part of the 93%

  1. WHOA Jim!!! Great deduction! I see now why you are a teacher!!! Um … might I add a possible variable to the equation, though? The PEW study said that 7% do not use the internet, but are those people who have never used the ‘Net, or are they people who have casually, at least on one occasion, used the Internet but do not do so on any regular basis, thus they might have answered “No” to the question when in reality, they have used the Internet?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. thank heavens the nuns taught me well when I was a little guy πŸ™‚

      that’s a good question, Jill. It looks like the question asked was either “Do you use the Internet or email, at least occasionally?” or “Do you access the internet on a cell phone, tablet or other mobile handheld device, at
      least occasionally?”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That wouldn’t have surprised me!

      but here’s what the report says:

      “a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and
      the District of Columbia (300 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,202 were interviewed on a cellphone”

      My guess is that the vast majority of non-Internet users came from the landline respondents. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. and you have mad math skills that have my head spinning. i’m working on practicing making patterns and sorting in my class by using shoes. let me know if you need any tips.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am surprised the number isn’t higher for those who do not use the internet. So many people who want to sign up for shots are upset that have to be done over the Internet that we’ve had to hire a ton of people to initiate a call center with those I don’t know how to use the Internet call and then the person on the phone answers them into the computer. Now I am curious to see if we have any numbers at work as to the percentage of people use the call center compared to actual number of people registered!! Looks like I will be asking questions when I go to work tomorrow 🧐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that would be interesting to discover. But I guess some people are ok just scrolling through Facebook, but may get intimidated with something like a vaccination web site…

      Liked by 1 person

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