Computer ownership up sharply in the 1990s

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.

Percent of households owning computers by selected demographic characteristics, 1990 and 1997
[Chart data—TXT]

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.

These data are a product of the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey. Additional information is available from "Issues in Labor Statistics: Computer Ownership Up Sharply in the 1990s" (PDF 30K).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Computer ownership up sharply in the 1990s on the Internet at (visited August 28, 2016).


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