Three “thermometers” of access show the disparities among various groups when it comes to internet access, cell phone use, and broadband access at home. The Pew Internet Project’s May 2008 survey finds that 73% of adults in the U.S. go online. 78% of adults have a cell phone. 55% of adults have broadband at home. Offline Americans are overwhelmingly over age 70, have less than a high school education, and speak a language other than English.

If we included living with a chronic condition in the internet access chart, that group would fall at around the 50% mark, whereas adults with no disability or chronic illness fall around the 75% mark.

And yet, once online, people living with chronic conditions are just as likely to use the internet to gather and share health information as other internet users. In all, 80% of internet users look for health information online.