Survey finds e-government is a hit

Survey finds e-government is a hit


E-government services are catching on with the public, outpacing some common commercial services, according to figures released today from the 2001 National Technology Readiness Survey by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and Rockbridge Associates Inc. of Great Falls, Va.

The study, which will be released in February, covers a broad range of technology issues and the public’s reaction to electronic services.

Researchers surveyed 418 adults with Internet access last year about their online activities and found that 55 percent had visited a government Web site. In a further breakdown, 50 percent visited a state or local government site and 33 percent visited a federal site.

The survey also showed 21 percent conducted government business online; 16 percent at the state and local level and 11 percent at the federal level.

A parallel sampling of 501 adults using e-commerce services found that many had made a purchase online—53 percent said they bought an item worth between $10 and $100 online. Among other forms of online transactions, 20 percent said they had conducted bank transactions, 15 percent had paid a credit card bill online, and 10 percent said they had bought or sold stock.

“The percentage of people using the Internet to obtain government information, pay taxes, apply for permits and conduct other business is surprisingly high, especially at the state and local level,” said Roland Rust, director of the university’s Center for e-Service. “This research suggests that e-government is in many ways even more prevalent than e-commerce. E-service appears to be an increasingly attractive alternative to standing in line at a government office.”

Men were more likely to visit and conduct business with government sites than women, and suburban residents were more likely to visit a government Web site than people in rural or urban areas.

Demographic breakdowns showed that users in the 34-54 age group were the most likely to visit and conduct business with a government entity. The study showed 56 percent of that age group visited a government Web site and 24 percent conducted business online with a government entity.

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