In this publication, the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) presents the results of the Survey on the Utilisation of Information Technology by Households, 2009. This survey is the second of its kind to be conducted by NIHERST as a similar study was undertaken in 2001.
The enquiry focussed on the distribution and growth of computers in households by administrative areas over the period, 2001 - 2009. Data on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of computer users, information on a wide range of computer usage and on Internet access and service providers were also captured and included in this publication. These indicators on computer applications and the profile of users in households should assist researchers, decision-makers and educators in the Information Technology sector.
Summary of Main Findings
- Of the 2,085 households that responded to the survey, 828 (39.7%) owned computers in 2009 while 1,257 (60.3%) did not.
- The percentage of households with computers increased three-fold to 39.7% in 2009 from 13.7% in 2001. A relatively large proportion of the households in Arima (69.2%), Diego Martin (52.0%), Tacarigua (50.2%), Chaguanas (45.8%) and San Fernando (45.6%) owned a home computer.
- Of the 1,257 households without computers, 50.7% stated that high cost was the main reason for not purchasing a computer; 26.9% indicated that it was not necessary/no one to use it.
- The majority (69.2%) of the households purchased computers from their private savings while approximately one-fifth (18.8%) indicated that they were received as gifts. Only 8.2% had accessed funding from banks and other financial institutions to purchase their computers.
- One-third (35.5%) of the households with computers reported gross monthly incomes between $5,000 $9,999 and one-fifth (19.9%) earned between $2,000 - $4,999. A relatively large proportion (34.1%) of the households with computers received gross monthly incomes of $10,000 and over. Only 3.0% of the households with a gross monthly income of less than $2,000 had computers.
- The survey results reveal an average household size of 3.2 persons and an average of 1.9 users per household, showing computer users as 60.8% of household members. The largest proportion of computer users in households was recorded in Arima (77.8%), Tacarigua (71.5%), Chaguanas (68.6%), Diego Martin (66.3%), Port of Spain (63.7%) and San Fernando (61.6%).
- Forty-seven percent (47.4%) of the computer users were males and 52.6% were females.
- Two-fifths of the users in the responding households in each case reported computer literacy (40.9%) and applications (38.1%) as their computer education.
- Of the 2,442 computer users, 1,340 or 54.8% were employed and self-employed, while 33.9% were students.
- Of the 1,340 employed computer users, 59.4% were employed in private enterprises, 31.3% in government departments and 7.5% in state enterprises.
- A substantial percentage (57.2%) of the households with computers used Windows XP while 16.9% utilised Windows Vista as their primary operating system; 18.1% also used Windows but did not specify the version.
- A significant proportion (70%) of households used the computer daily, and of these, 29.5% used it for a modal duration of more than 5 hours.
- A significant percentage (79.0%) of the households reported that the computer was used for games while three-fifths in each case indicated office productivity tools (60.1%) and multimedia (58.1%).
Households with Internet
- Of the 828 households with computers, 524 or 63.3% had Internet connection. Internet access by households within areas was significant in Tobago (90.6%), Diego Martin (78.7%), Arima (77.8%), Rest of St. George (75.0%), Port of Spain (71.0%) and San Fernando (70.7%).
- A relatively large percentage (36.2%) of the households cited high cost as the main reason for no Internet connection followed by access to the Internet elsewhere (29.6%).
- A significant proportion (72.3%) of households with Internet accessed it daily, and of these, 29.8% used it for a modal duration of more than 5 hours.
- A significant percentage (71.9%) of the households with Internet connection identified Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) as the main service provider while 20.4% stated FLOW. The majority of these households (83.0%) had unlimited Internet connection.
- A significant proportion (77.9%) of the households was satisfied with the service of their Internet access provider while 22.1% were dissatisfied. Of the 116 or 22.1% dissatisfied households, 51.7% cited interruption as the main reason for dissatisfaction while 31.0% stated too much time for connection and 17.2% high cost.
- Most of the 524 households with Internet used it for web searches (92.4%) and e-mail (92.4%). A substantial proportion utilised the Internet for downloads (64.7%) and playing games (49.8%) while one-third in each case accessed it for multimedia/telephoning (35.7%) and distance learning/education (35.3%). Slightly over one in ten households (11.8%) used the Internet for e-commerce and one in five (19.8%) for banking.
- When households were asked about their concern for security on the Internet, approximately one-third in each case indicated that they were very much concerned (36.1%) and somewhat concerned (32.6%) while 29.8% were not at all concerned.
- A relatively large proportion (45.6%) of the households with Internet connection indicated that the present security features of the Internet were insufficient to encourage e-commerce.
- On the requirement of new laws to protect privacy on the Internet, a substantial percentage of households (61.5%) strongly agreed and 28.6% somewhat agreed.
- Of the 524 households with Internet connections, only a quarter (23.7%) used computers for e commerce.
- The modal value of Internet purchases made by households over the six-month period ending April, 2009, was less than $1,000 (41.9%) followed by $1,000 - $1,999 (23.4%).