The State With the Highest Rate of Internet Usage May Surprise You

It's known for cold temperatures and being home to very nice people.
The State With the Highest Rate of Internet Usage May Surprise You
Image credit: Walter Bibikow | Getty Images

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

The three U.S. states with the largest populations are California, Texas and New York. So you might think that given sheer geographic area, the population density of metropolitan centers such as New York City, Los Angeles and Houston, or the presence of Silicon Valley that one of these states would have the greatest proportion of internet users. However, that isn’t the case.

Related: Think 5G Would Only Make Streaming Faster? It'd Also Be Great for Business.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, you won't find the most connected people on the coasts, or deep in the heart of Texas, but largely in the Midwest. Just under three-quarters of U.S. households were online in 2015. But the most connected state isn’t located on one of the coasts -- it’s in the heart of the Midwest.

Read on for the top 10 states with the highest concentrations of internet users, as well as stats that reveal how residents are accessing and utilizing the web.

10. Iowa

10. Iowa
Image credit: Ben Klaus | Getty Images

In 2015, 79.5 percent of Iowans, or 2,355,765 households, used the internet. In 1998, 996,217 (then 36.3 percent) households were online.

In Iowa, 30.5 percent of internet users spend time online searching for job opportunities.

9. Wyoming

9. Wyoming
Image credit: Richard Cummins | Getty Images

In 2015, 80 percent of Wyoming residents, or 439,874 households, used the internet. In 1998, 190,823 (then 39.9 percent) households were online.

In Wyoming, 90.6 percent of internet users check email, whereas 90.9 percent of U.S. citizens overall do so.

8. Oregon

8. Oregon
Image credit: jose1983 | Getty Images

In 2015, 80.5 percent of Oregon residents, or 3,072,20 households, used the internet. In 1998, 1,356,308 households (then 41.2 percent) were online.

Oregon has the highest proportion of laptop computer internet users of any state.

7. Utah

7. Utah
Image credit: Kirk Strickland | Getty Images

In 2015, 80.6 percent of Utah residents, or 2,252,565 households, used the internet. In 1998, 812,717 (then 41 percent) households were online.

Related: 6 Things You Need to Know About Google Fiber

Utah is the state with the highest percentage of internet users who have wearable devices (2.2 percent) and who use smart TVs and TV-connected devices (36.3 percent).

6. Illinois

6. Illinois
Image credit: ferrantraite | Getty Images

In 2015, 81.3 percent of Illinois residents, or 9,946,149 households, used the internet. In 1998, 3,715,059 (then 32.7 percent) households were online.

Of the 10 states with the greatest proportions of internet users, Illinois has the highest rate of desktop computer internet use (41.3 percent). In the nation as a whole, 34.3 percent of internet users access the web via a desktop computer.

5. Idaho

5. Idaho
Image credit: Anna Gorin | Getty Images

In 2015, 81.4 percent of Idaho residents, or 1,276,770 households, used the internet. In 1998, 466,151 (then 37.5 percent) households were online.

Nearly three-quarters of internet users in Idaho use the web to shop or make reservations.

4. New Hampshire

4. New Hampshire
Image credit: DenisTangneyJr | Getty Images

In 2015, 82.3 percent of New Hampshire residents, or 1,054,070 households, used the internet. In 1998, 520,158 (then 44.2 percent) households were online.

Related: The 10 Best States to Start a Small Business

In New Hampshire, 23.4 percent of internet users take classes or participate in job training online.

3. Wisconsin

3. Wisconsin
Image credit: Davel5957 | Getty Images

In 2015, 82.5 percent of Wisconsinites, or 4,539,764 households, used the internet. In 1998, 1,735,721 (then 35.6 percent) households were online.

After Rhode Island, Wisconsin is the state with the greatest proportion of internet users who say that affordability is the most important aspect of home internet service (as opposed to reliability, service speed, mobility, data cap or customer service).

2. Vermont

2. Vermont
Image credit: DenisTangneyJr | Getty Images

In 2015, 82.5 percent of Vermont residents, or 499,790 households, used the internet. In 1998, 242,734 (then 42.7 percent) households were online.

Vermont has the second-highest rate of internet usage by residents ages 15 and up (84.2 percent), behind Wisconsin (84.6 percent).

1. Minnesota

1. Minnesota
Image credit: Walter Bibikow | Getty Images

In 2015, 83.1 percent of Minnesotans, or 4,307,850 households, used the internet. In 1998, 1,889,017 (then 41.5 percent) households were online.

Related: 15 Throwback Web Pages That Show Us How the Internet Has Changed

A greater proportion of internet users look up health insurance info or communicate with a doctor online in Minnesota than in any of the other states in the top 10. Minnesota is second to Washington state in this usage category (38.9 percent of people in Washington state access health records online, compared with 37.9 percent in Minnesota).

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization

Book Sale - Save 60%!


Through 6/20/21, save on our collection of recommended side hustle and Start Your Own books, including:

  • Start Your Own eBay Business
  • Start Your Own Business
  • Start Your Own Etsy Business
  • And more

Use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 to claim your savings!

Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur