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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Utah leads the nation in the percent of homes with computers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than 74 percent of Utah households owned a computer, based on 2003 census data, the Census Bureau said Thursday. In 2001, the state was second at 68 percent.
"We do have a highly educated population in the state, and I think it's tied to computer ownership," said Gail Niklason, director of Weber State University Online.
Utah has just the right demographic mix for computer ownership, said Robert Spendlove, director of demographic and economic analysis for Gov. Jon Huntsman's office.
Households most likely to own computers are large and have younger and highly educated occupants, the study said.
Utah has the youngest population in the nation, with an average age of 27.5 years; it also has the largest households, with an average of 3.13 people, Spendlove said.
Therefore, the state's top ranking in percentage of households with computers is logical, he said.
"It shows that Utah continues to be a very technologically savvy state and a state that places an emphasis on computer literacy," he said.
Behind Utah was Alaska with 73.4 percent of households owning a computer in 2003. Alaska led the nation in household Internet access at 68.5 percent. Utah was fifth at 62.6 percent. That was up from 14th in the nation with 54 percent having Internet access in 2001.
Niklason speculated that the cause of Utah's lower ranking in Internet access may be a low level of competition between Internet providers.
Because competition is low, the price stays high, she said.
"For most people, it's about $50 a month, so that may put it out of reach for a lot of people," she said.
Another possible reason for not ranking higher in Internet use is that some content on the Web might offend Utah sensibilities, said Eric Swedin, Weber State assistant professor of information systems and technologies.
"A lot of people in this state have concerns about what their children might see on the Internet," he said.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)