Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Digital Divide Still Exists

The Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration and NTIA recently released the report “Exploring the Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use at Home” presenting an in-depth analysis of broadband internet adoption in the U.S. Overall, approximately seven out of ten households in the U.S. subscribe to broadband service.

However, the report finds a strong correlation between broadband adoption and socio-economic factors such as income and education, but maintains that these differences do not explain the entire broadband adoption gap that exists along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. Even after accounting for socio-economic differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband adoption.

The report analyzed data collected through the Current Population Survey of about 54,300 households conducted by the Census Bureau in October 2010. Earlier this year, NTIA released initial findings from the survey showing that virtually all demographic groups have increased the adoption of broadband at home since the prior year, but historic disparities still exist among demographic groups.

Overall the report found:

• Sixty-eight percent of American households used broadband internet in 2010 which was up from 64 percent in 2009

• Approximately 80 percent of American households had at least one internet user

• Cable modems and DSL were the leading broadband technologies for home internet adoption

However, there were still differences in household broadband adoption in households. Hispanics, people with disabilities, and rural residents were less likely to have internet services at home. This compares to 81 percent of Asian households and 72 percent of white households that have broadband at home as compared to 57 percent of Hispanic households and 55 percent of black households.

Other factors were found in household broadband adoption such as the percentage of usage was higher for urban households, households with school-age children, and for the 93 percent of households with incomes exceeding $100,000. The research also found that home mobile broadband adoption was more widespread in households reporting use of handheld devices.

Go to www.ntia.doc.gov/report/2011/exploring-digital-nation-computer-and-internet-use-home to view the document.