Latest Data On The Digital Divide
The latest data is in and the digital divide is narrowing. That’s a very good thing. According to the Pew Research Center’s latest study, the digital gap in internet access among races is narrowing, and almost disappearing. The need to close the gap is great as in today’s world internet access is a must, not a nice to have.
The Pew study was released in June and it represents the 15th year of analysis starting in 2000. It’s easy to see why the gap is closing since there’s near saturation at the high end of usage among younger, more affluent, and highly educated adults.
A few key highlights from the study:
1. The majority of older, 65+, adults (58%) now use the internet.
This was only 14% in the first study in 2000 as this group was slower to adapt to new technology. Interestingly this group is becoming heavier users of Facebook in sharing/viewing photos of family
2. The most pronounced growth has come from lower income/less educated households
3. Race differences have closed to small difference.
White usage of the intent (85%) is only marginally greater than Hispanics (81%) and blacks (78%). At the high end, there is virtually universal usage among English-speaking Asian Americans (97%)
4. There is now no gender difference (85% men, 84% women)
In earlier studies there was a gender lead among male users
Smartphone growth is a big part of the declining divide of internet usage as mobile technology is providing access to all. Obviously marketers have long been aware of the demographic trends in internet usage and digital strategies among all ages, races and economic strata are critical. Hopefully the divide will disappear totally in coming years.