NEW YORK (AP) -- Why do some people still not use the Internet? It isn't always as simple as who has access and who doesn't.
A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 42 percent of U.S. adults do not use the Internet, but only half of them are truly unconnected.
Others are "Net evaders," meaning they live in households with Internet connections and can ask a family member to send messages or conduct research for them. "Net dropouts" gave up the Net because it took too much time or they lost access to a computer.
These findings reveal plenty of shades of gray in the so-called digital divide -- and suggest that bridging the gap will take more than outfitting the have-nots with computers and Internet accounts.
"Thinking of it as online and offline is an easy way to think about it, but what's really going on is a lot more complicated," said Amanda Lenhart, a Pew research specialist. "There are subgroups within nonusers and users who have different characteristics about them."
The 58 percent of Americans identified as Internet users also varied. At one end are "intermittent users," online Americans who dropped out for an extended period and have returned. At the other end are heavy users with residential broadband connections.
Internet usage has also stabilized, with little change since 2001, Pew found. Lenhart said the research suggests fluidity -- people leaving the Internet as others join -- rather than a static population of users.
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