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Where Are You @? What Your Email Says About Your Education

Where Are You @? What Your Email Says About Your Education

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Having an AOL email address is like driving a vintage car — it’s a little dated and not as efficient as more modern platforms. But before those of you on Gmail snicker too much, it turns out that older AOL email users are actually “smarter” than you think.

New research from Earnest shows that while there is a correlation between a user’s email domain and their age, there are also some surprising findings about education and domain. Here are some of the key findings from our data:

Email is Generational

No surprises here: Earnest’s data showed domain usage and adoption of different email platforms tend to fall along generational lines. Boomers are more likely to use AOL while Gen Xers tend to use Hotmail and Yahoo more than other age groups, and millennials are firmly Gmail users.


The Gmail Juggernaut

Google’s reach into the inboxes of the world is massive — there are approximately 900 million Gmail users globally, nearly half of which are accounts opened in the last three years. The email service launched in 2004.

Given the reach of Gmail, it’s unsurprising that overall six out of 10 loan applicants at Earnest uses a Gmail account, according to our analysis. Gmail prevalence is especially strong among one group — 80 percent of Earnest applicants aged 27 to 35 use Gmail.

Top Grads on Gmail

Previous studies have shown that email use overall tends to correlate with education level and the more education you have, the more likely you are to use email.

Earnest’s data reveals more detail about the connection between education and email. While 60 percent of those with a high school or Associate’s degree use Gmail, 75 percent of those with a Bachelor’s degree, and 80 percent with a graduate or professional degree, have a Gmail address. Among graduates of Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, over 90 percent use Gmail. [Tweet this.]

AOL is for the Wisest

However, before you ditch your existing account for the reflected glory of a Gmail account, consider this: For people who are 56 and older, those who use an AOL account are the most educated. More than 40 percent have a graduate or professional degree. Only 31 percent of Gmail users in that age range can say the same.

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Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.