Ed-Tech Policy

Census Report Highlights Internet-Access Gaps

By Ian Quillen — July 17, 2012 1 min read
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The U.S. Census Bureau Monday released new survey data that shows educational attainment, race, income, and disability are all substantial predictors of whether Americans have computer or Internet access.

Holders of bachelor’s degrees or higher were found to be more than twice as likely to live in households with a computer and/or Internet access as were people who had not completed high school.

Meanwhile, only six percent of respondents of all ages with a disability—and 4.8 percent of those who called their disability “severe"&mdash:were found to use a computer at school, compared with more than 17 percent of respondents with no disability. All three of those percentages would likely be much higher among school- and college-age respondents, but such breakdowns were not available. Respondents with disabilities were also found substantially less likely to use a computer at home or at work.

The findings, which come from the bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) School Enrollment and Internet Use Supplement, would still appear to support the relatively urgent efforts of several federal agencies—particularly the Federal Communications Commission—to narrow the gap in Internet adoption through initiatives stemming from the National Broadband Plan. It should be noted, however, that the data originating from the supplement pertains to respondents’ access as of October 2010.

Less than two-thirds of black and Hispanic respondents reported living in a household with computer and/or Internet access, compared with more than three-quarters of other ethnic groups, and about 86 percent of Asian Americans.

Meanwhile, less than two-thirds of respondents living in households with less than $50,000 were found to live in homes with computer or Internet access, compared with more than 90 percent of all other reported income groups.

There’s plenty of other data in the report to sift through online via the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.