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When It Comes To The Internet, It’s Not A Question Of Access

July 25, 2016

iStock_000005643842MediumThe Pew Research Center last week released more evidence that the United States’ private sector model for providing high-speed internet service and access is working and that, in most cases, it’s not access that matters when it comes to the decision to go online, it’s an individual’s personal feelings about the internet that do.

Pew reported, “The long-standing digital divide in internet use between Latinos and whites is now at its narrowest point since 2009 as immigrant Latinos and Spanish-dominant Latinos make big strides in going online …” Specifically the report showed:

  • Internet Use Gap Cut By More Than Two-Thirds. While in 2009, 80 percent of whites and 64 percent of Hispanics said they used the Internet (a 16-point gap), today 89 percent of whites and 84 percent of Hispanics said they use the Internet (an five-point gap).
  • Internet Use Is Much Higher Among Younger Hispanics. Ninety-five percent of Hispanics between 18 and 29, and 93 percent between the ages of 30 and 49, said they use the Internet compared to just 42 percent of those 65 percent or older.
  • Hispanics Are More Likely To Rely On Mobile Access. The survey found 80 percent of Hispanics said they access the internet from a mobile device compared to 76 percent for whites. Additionally, 73 percent of whites and just 46 percent of Hispanics said they have broadband at home.
  • Age Also Matters With Home Access. Seventy-two percent of Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 29 said have access to broadband at home while just 29 percent of those over the age of 65 said they do.

The Latin Post covered this story last week. Click here to read more.

What these results show is, first, that emerging technologies are the most likely to attract traditionally underserved communities. Second, these results show the primary reason Americans choose not to go online or to subscribe to broadband is not that they don’t have the opportunity to do so, it’s that some, especially among older generations, continue to be skeptical of how the internet positively impacts their lives. In other words, the problem isn’t lack of access, it’s lack of perceived relevancy.