January 23, 2022

New Report from Pew Research: Information Overloaded Not a Problem For a Large Majority of Americans

From the Pew Research Center:

The large majority of Americans do not feel that information overload is a problem for them, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Fully 77% of adults surveyed say they like having so much information at their fingertips. Only 20% of those surveyed report feeling overloaded by information, a decline from 27% in 2006.

Fewer Americans feel overloaded by information than did so a decade ago

The survey finds that those who own more tech devices are also the ones who feel more on top of the data and media flows in their lives.

Americans are confident they can use digital gadgets to meet information demands

Those who are more likely to feel information overload have less technology as well as poorer, less educated and older.
The demographics of Americans who feel information overload

One quarter (25%) of those with annual household incomes of $30,000 or less say they feel overloaded by information, as well as 24% of those with high school diplomas or less and 31% of those ages 65 and older.

Those with more digital gadgets are more active information searchers

The report considers how Americans cope with information demands in their lives and how they feel about the volume of information they encounter. Among the key findings:

  • 81% of adults say this statement describes them “very well” or “somewhat well”: “I feel confident in my ability to use the internet and other communications devices to keep up with information demands in my life.”
  • 81% say this statement describes them “very well” or “somewhat well”: “Most of the time, it is easy for me to determine what information is trustworthy.”
  • 79% say this statement describes them “very well” or “somewhat well”: “Having a lot of information makes me feel like I have more control over things in my life.”

While most Americans feel confident in dealing with information, noteworthy numbers have some level of unease with keeping up with information demands. Nearly half (46%) say the institutions they deal with – such as schools, banks or government agencies – expect them to do too much information gathering.

These are among the findings from the new report, which is based on a nationally representative survey conducted March 7-April 4, 2016, among 1,520 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.