The Internet is used for a variety of purposes: information seeking, email correspondence, contact with friends, and more. Presumably some of you are even reading this column through the Web. Use of the Internet is relatively widespread, with 67% of Israel’s residents aged 20 and above having used it during 2010 and with usage increasing from year to year. In 2002, the first year during which the Central Bureau of Statistics’ Social Survey was conducted, it was found that 32% of Israel’s residents aged 20+ had used the Internet, and in 2005 a total of 47% of Israel’s residents aged 20+ used the Internet.

During the years 2009-2010, a total of 52% of Jerusalem residents aged 20+ used the Internet. There is a significant difference between Jews (66%) and Arabs (33%), and among Jews there is a difference in Internet usage according to religious affiliation. The lowest rate of Internet usage was recorded in the Haredi population (35%). Among the Masorati (traditional religious) the rate of usage was 61%, among the secular it was 80%, and among the Orthodox the highest rate was measured – 84%.

As in the case of Israel’s residents generally, among Jerusalemites aged 20+ the most common use of the Internet was for the purposes of information seeking and email. Among Jerusalem’s computer users, 92% and 88% (respectively) reported that they use the computer for these purposes. Additional purposes were the downloading of files (58%) and discussion groups and chats (46%). Interestingly, many Jerusalemites also use the computer to access governmental services (38%), to shop (25%), and to make payments (23%).

Among Jerusalemites with mobile phones, 11% used the Internet through the phone, compared to 19% in Israel generally. The remainder opted not to use this service or had phones that lack this service. Presumably some of these are among the 39% of Jerusalem residents aged 20+ (27% among Israel’s residents) who claim that “the Internet is a waste of time.” Most Jerusalemites (65%) and Israeli residents (73%) held an opposite opinion, claiming that “use of the Internet is enjoyable.”

Source: Analysis of data from the Central Bureau of Statistics