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…