Urban Fold

Pew Internet & American Life Project

Chris Steins's picture
Staff
Pew Internet & American Life Project

A new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, "How Americans Get in Touch With Government", shows that 97 million adult Americans, or 77% of Internet users, took advantage of e-gov in 2003, whether that meant going to government Web sites or emailing government officials. This represented a growth of 50% from 2002. At the same time, citizens who contact government said they are more likely to turn to traditional means - either the telephone or in-person visits - rather than the Web or email to deal with government.

According to the report, Internet users are about 3 times as likely as non-Internet users to get in touch with government, whether the contact means conducting a transaction or seeking help with a problem. Probably because it's easier to shoot off an email or submit a web form than trying to find the right person and phone number.

Another interesting finding concerns accessibility: Just 40% of those with disabilities have access to e-gov services, compared to 63% of the overall population. Those with disabilities prefer contacting the government by telephone or in person rather than over the Web or email by a 65% to 15% margin.
Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

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