From the 51% of respondents who have a computer, plan to purchase a computer or want to have access via public terminals, the following demographic profiles emerged. Among educational levels, high school graduates and those with Bachelor's degrees emerged as two groups with the greatest likelihood of having a computer. Most computer users are between 25 and 44 years of age. More than half (51.4%) had three to four members in their household. When asked for their language of preference 97.5% responded with English while the remaining 2.5% gave no response or otherwise refused to answer. Most users have a household income over $35,000 per annum and 59.7% were male.
At the same time, these results must be prefaced with the caution that some sub-groups in this study are under-represented. Of those respondents who have a computer and modem, or who are planning on acquiring one, or who are interested in public access terminals, Tables 3-6 portrays the size (n) of these sub-groups relative to the total study. Where n is very small, results relevant to these sub-groups must be interpreted with the greatest of latitude.
|Table 3: Frequency (n) and percentage of each sub-group relative to the total sample size by gender|
|Table 4: Frequency (n) and percentage of each sub-group relative to the total sample size by age|
|Table 5: Frequency (n) and percentage of each sub-group relative to the total sample size by highest achieved educational level|
|less than High School||24||10.2|
|High School Diploma||48||20.4|
|Refused /Don't Know||38||16.2|
|Table 6: Frequency (n) and percentage of each sub-group relative to the total sample size by household size|
|Five or more||31||13.2|
Figure 3: Percent of respondents who have a home computer and modem or who want to access the Free-Net via public terminals stratified by highest achieved education level.
Figure 4: Percent of respondents who have a home computer and modem or who want to access the Free-Net via public terminals as referenced by age.
Figure 5: Percent of respondents who have a home computer and modem or who want to access the Free-Net via public terminals as referenced by income level.
Respondents were also asked to rank their interest in various content categories using a Likert-type scale. These responses were then cross-tabulated against demographic variables.
Both men and women share similar interests in many respects. Computer information and advice, library catalogs, community information, educational programs, recreational schedules, reference materials, health information, e-mail, news, travel planning, conversation, weather information, financial information, show tickets and information, and government reports and information are ranked as very or slightly important by more than half of all respondents regardless of gender.
Some gender differences do emerge. Women are more likely than men to express an interest in community information, health information, travel planning, club and society information, self-help groups as well as UIC and the Job Bank. Men are more likely than women to express interest in long-distance shopping, agricultural information, financial information and sporting issues.
Overall, both genders seem unenthusiastic about shopping and merchandising activities in general, as well as "niche" groups such as professional associations, UIC and self-help groups.
When grouped by age, all age brackets are generally interested in library catalogs, health, computer and community information. The majority of 13-54 year olds are interested in e-mail, travel, reference materials, educational programs (distance education), conversation on-line, and news. Only a minority of respondents in the older age groups of 55 are interested in these categories.
Youth (13-17) are unanimous in their support for sports information on-line. Younger people in general are interested in both the educational and recreational opportunities afforded by a Free-Net. Younger people are more interested in using the Free-Net for consumer and commercial activities. Young adults are also very interested in the use of the Free-Net as a forum for job hunting, and to a lesser extent, government publications and financial planning and information.
Individuals with technical institute certificates and diplomas are generally unenthusiastic about the opportunities afforded by Free-Nets. As shown in Figure 8, they often express the lowest interest in many information categories.
Those respondents at the lower income levels generally express a stronger interest for most information categories including educational, recreational, informational and news resources as well as e-mail. There is a strong desire among low and middle income brackets to use Free-Net resources for job searching, and a desire among low income respondents to use the Free-Net for shopping purposes.
Figure 6: Percent of Respondents who are "Very Interested" or "Somewhat Interested" in various content areas as stratified by gender.
Figure 7.1: Percent of Respondents who are "Very Interested" or "Somewhat Interested" in various content areas as stratified by age.
Figure 8.1: Percent of Respondents who are "Very Interested" or "Somewhat Interested" in various content areas as stratified by highest achieved educational level.
Figure 9.1: Percent of Respondents who are "Very Interested" or "Somewhat Interested" in various content areas as stratified by income groupings.