Study from Joint Center shows higher broadband adoption rates among blacks
(March 3, 2010) Middle and upper class African Americans and Hispanics are rapidly adopting broadband and are greatly narrowing the overall digital divide, according to a new study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and policy institution that focuses on minority concerns and issues. The study found that 94 percent of African Americans and 98 percent of Hispanics who have college degrees are now online, and that college-educated minority Americans who make over $50,000 are adopting broadband at the fastest rate of any group in the country.
Across all education and income brackets, the report says that 69 percent of African Americans and 58 percent of Hispanics now regularly use the Internet, compared with 79 percent of whites, and that the rate of broadband adoption in African American homes has risen to 59 percent from the 46 percent reported by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project just last year.
Despite the gains for more affluent minorities, the Joint Center report also noted lagging broadband adoption for lower-income, older and less educated blacks and Hispanics � with only about a third of them or less regularly using the Internet � and provided new information on how important Internet access and proficiency for members of these groups.
In the study, 92 percent of low-income African Americans have used the Internet to search for a job, almost double rate of low-income whites, while 77 percent of blacks and 64 percent of Hispanics with less than a high school education rely on the Internet for job search, compared to 17 percent of whites in this group. These same minority populations also regularly access the Internet to search and apply for public benefits. The report also notes that low-income people, in particular, are heavily reliant on public institutions such as libraries, schools, and community centers to get access to the Internet.
"The news that those that have the means are starting to regularly use the Internet for everyday activities is promising because it narrows the digital divide at that level," noted Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, Vice President and Director of the Joint Center Media and Technology Institute. "In today's economy, however, with more lowincome people needing to find work and government support to keep their heads above water, their access to the Internet is critical to moving them out of poverty."
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