Economic characteristics of internet and non-internet users and implications for web-based surveys

Persons with and without access to the Internet can differ substantially in many ways. Using a national survey of adults’ economic outlook, this study finds that persons with Internet access at home view their own economic situation and the nation’s more favorably than do persons without home Internet access. However, when demographics like income, age, and region of residence are controlled, these differences disappear. This is a positive finding for survey organizations that hope to use Internet surveys to make inferences about the general population since the demographic imbalances between the Internet population and the full population can be corrected for using statistical adjustments.