April 05, 1999
Between 1990 and 1997, the percentage of households owning computers increased from 15 to 35 percent, and the amount spent by the average household on computers and associated hardware more than tripled. The ownership rate and change over the period varied by education and demographic group.
Households with the highest levels of education had the highest levels of computer ownership. In 1997, 66 percent of households whose reference person had attended graduate school owned a computer, compared with less than 12 percent of those headed by a person who did not graduate from high school. From 1990 to 1997, college graduates had the largest increase in ownership (from 24 to 56 percent); high school graduates also reported a significant ownership increase (from 9 to 23 percent).
Among racial groups, Asians had the highest computer ownership share (49 percent), followed by whites (36 percent) and blacks (18 percent). Between 1990 and 1997, Asians also showed the largest percentage point change in ownership, growing from 25 percent to 49 percent. Computer ownership among whites grew from 16 to 36 percent and the ownership rate among blacks rose from 7 to 18 percent.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Computer ownership up sharply in the 1990s on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/apr/wk1/art01.htm (visited November 30, 2015).
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.