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BizReport : Research archives : April 26, 2007

U.S. Wikipedia users are wealthy and well-educated

Despite concerns about accuracy and reliability, Wikipedia remains a popular online source of information, as a study from the Pew Center for American Life Project recently revealed.

by Helen Leggatt

wikipedia%20logo.gifAccording to Pew’s latest survey, released this Tuesday, Wikipedia is used by 36 percent of American adults. The size and speed of the encyclopedic site means it is convenient, and fast, for consumers to source information on almost any topic.

Interestingly, for a site whose content has been called in to question in terms of accuracy and reliability, the users are well educated and earn good salaries. Half of Wikipedia's online users were college graduates and 42 percent of users earned more than $75,000.

With more than 5.3 million entries in 251 different languages, it is by far the most used online reference source. In March, 2007, it accounted for 24 percent of traffic in its category. Yahoo Answers, its closest rival, accounted for just 4 percent of traffic.

"It is a testimony to the broadening reality on the Internet that people used to be consumers of information and now they are producers of that information," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project.

Pew’s survey found that, on a typical day, Wikipedia is visited by 8 percent of online Americans making it more popular than online dating, shopping, travel booking, chat and even auctions. Over half of Wikipedia traffic comes from search engines where it ranks highly thanks to its inter-site linking.

Tags: Pew Center for American Life Project, Wikipedia

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