Many of us are able to access the Internet through our computers, tablets, smartphones, and even our fridge, but for many Americans, the smartphone is the only way to access the Internet.

That comes out to around 22 million Americans being dependent on smartphones for connection.

"Today nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them - either because they lack broadband at home, or because they have few options for online access other than their cell phone," said Aaron Smith, a Pew researcher who helped to write the report. "Indeed, 7% of Americans own a smartphone but have neither traditional broadband service at home, nor easily available alternatives for going online other than their cell phone."

The Internet has become increasingly important in order to function in today's society, both in terms of business and personal life. In fact, 57 percent of smartphone users use their device for online banking, and 43 percent use their device to search for jobs.

The report found that around 89 percent of Americans in total use the Internet, with many of those people using a mixture of ways to access the Internet, including computers, tablets and smartphones.

Those dependent on smartphones for Internet access largely depend on age, with 15 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 years old only having Internet access through a smartphone. Thirteen percent of people with incomes under $30,000 per year were smartphone-dependent. In contrast, only 1 percent of Americans with incomes over $75,000 per year depend on their smartphone for Internet access.

It was also found that those that are smartphone-dependent are rarely white, with 12 percent of blacks, 13 percent of Latinos and only 4 percent of whites being smartphone-dependent.

Almost a quarter of those that were reliant on their phones had to cancel their phone service because they could no longer afford it, and 15 percent "frequently" reached data caps on their phone plans.

Not everyone in America owns a smartphone, however. In fact, 64 percent of adults in America own a smartphone, up from the 35 percent from 2011. Ownership of a smartphone is highest among younger adults in America, as well as among those with higher incomes.

While the demographics of netizens change, so too the rules about Internet access and regulation have been shifting as the debate about net neutrality rages on.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.