This article packages the data collected in October 1984 as part of the Current Population Survey, when the National Center for Education Statistics sponsored the inclusion of questions on computer availability and use at home, work and school.
Estimates of access by children varied. White children, non-Hispanic children, and boys were substantially more likely to have a home computer than their black, Hispanic and female counterparts. The probability of access increased with the educational level of the household, increased income, and professionally employed adults. Household ownership of a computer was strongly associated with the presence of children in the home.
Use patterns demonstrated no real differences between racial groups - but boys continued to outpace girls, and children in low-income groups had lower rates of use. School use increased with the educational level and income of parents, suggesting that it depends on the quality and equipping of schools, which is tied to parental resources.
The survey examined access and use by adults - 18.3% of the adult population used a computer somewhere. Usage was highest among people 25-44, whites, non-Hispanics, men, and single individuals. Again, having a home computer strongly correlated with high education and income levels. However, only 53.3% of adults with home computer access reported using the computer, with men drastically outpacing women.
Work use was more likely with high levels of education, in managerial and professional jobs, and for technical and administrative positions. Differences in workplace use reflect differences in workforce distribution - women were more likely to use computers because of their overrepresentation in administrative, sales, and support positions. Higher rates of usage, here, do not align with higher wages or prestige. Of those adults in school, nearly a third used computers.