The Smart Phone vs the Digital Divide

on Monday, Jun. 27th

Much has been reported over the years about the “digital divide,” the lack of Internet access experienced by Latino and black Americans in comparison with other groups. Latinos in particular are on the losing end, less likely to have access than non-Latino whites, or to have a home broadband connection or a cell phone, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center study. They also lag behind black Americans in home broadband access.

But smart phones may be narrowing the gap. KQED’s MindShift education blog in San Francisco has highlighted a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California, which concludes:

…although Latinos are the group least likely to have a computer or Internet access at home, Latinos who use their cell phones to go online are twice as likely as whites (40% to 21%) to say that they mostly access the Internet this way.

It’s not the first research to find that Latinos put their smart phones to good use. In May, a report from The Nielsen Company concluded similarly:

Hispanics are very active on their smartphones, texting the most out of all races/ethnicities (943 texts per month) and employing a wide range of mobile activities, including mobile banking. Smartphone penetration has reached 45 percent, matching only Asian-American usage levels in popularity.

To read more about where the digital divide persists, visit the Multi-American.

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