Study: Government Web sites are big hit
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 09, 2002
2001 National Technology Readiness Survey
More than half of adult Internet users visited a government Web site within
the last year, according to a survey released Jan. 9.
Overall, 55 percent of online users accessed a government site, with
50 percent visiting a state or local government site and 33 percent visiting
a federal government site, according to the 2001 National Technology Readiness
The survey was co-sponsored by the Center for e-Service at the University
of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Rockbridge Associates
Inc., a technology market research firm.
Roland Rust, the center's director, said he was surprised at "how big
e-government is in terms of the number of people who actually use it." State
and local sites were visited more often than federal government sites, he
said, probably because users feel closer to their local governments, but
also because those sites are further along and better than the federal agency
sites. He was also surprised that more users conducted online business with
governments (21 percent) ranging from getting driver's licenses or hunting
permits to various permissions and information than did online banking
(20 percent), paid credit card bills (15 percent), or bought or sold stocks
Yet, the survey also indicated that 53 percent of users purchased items
worth $10 to $100 via the Internet and 40 percent booked travel reservations
online, far more than the number doing business with government electronically.
Although the survey is in its third year, it's the first time researchers
included questions related to e-government. "The reason was we've been hearing
from companies and government agencies about a great deal of movement in
the areas of e-government. This was an area that was moving fast and advancing
quickly," Rust said.
The survey, conducted in November 2001, sampled the online behavior
of about 500 U.S. adults, 18 years or older, within the preceding 12 months.
There were about an equal number of men and women who were interviewed by
telephone, but the survey showed that more men conducted business online
Rust said he believed that's because men were early adopters of the
Internet, and they may be early adopters of e-government. However, he added,
"that variation will go away with time."