Broadband Internet Not Widely Accessed By African Americans: Poll
January 7, 2014

Broadband Internet Not Widely Accessed By African Americans: Poll

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

While African Americans are still less likely to use the Internet than their white counterparts, nearly three-fourths currently have at least one social media account, according to the results of a new Pew Internet & American Life Project poll.

The study, which was based on a total of 6,010 American adults (664 of whom identified themselves as African American), found that 87 percent of white people in the US were Internet users versus only 80 percent of blacks. Furthermore, blacks (62 percent) were less likely than whites (74 percent) to have some type of broadband connection at home, the “African Americans and Technology Use” report said.

“In addition, the gap between whites and blacks when it comes to traditional measures of internet and broadband adoption is more pronounced among certain demographic subgroups than among others,” the report explained. “Specifically, older African Americans, as well as those who have not attended college, are significantly less likely to go online or to have broadband service at home compared to whites with a similar demographic profile.”

African Americans over the age of 65 were found to have particularly low adoption rates in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts, with just 45 percent of black seniors using the Internet and only 30 percent having broadband access at home. In comparison, 63 percent of white American seniors said that they actively go online, and more than half reported that they had high-speed access at their place of residence.

Conversely, the gap decreases among younger, college-educated and higher-income individuals of both races. Approximately 86 percent of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are home broadband users, as are 88 percent of black college graduates and 91 percent of those earning at least $75,000 per year. According to the report, those figures are “identical to whites of similar ages, incomes, and education levels.”

More than 73 percent of African Americans that are online report that they are a member of at least one social networking website, and that number jumps to 96 percent amongst 18 to 29 year old blacks. Twitter is especially popular amongst African Americans, the report said, with 22 percent of online blacks describing themselves as Twitter users (versus just 16 percent of online whites).

“In contrast to internet use and broadband adoption, blacks and whites are equally likely to own a cell phone of some kind, and also have identical rates of smartphone ownership,” the report said. About 92 percent of black adults said that they owned a cell phone, and 56 percent owned some type of smartphone.

Furthermore, while just 45 percent of blacks over the age of 65 used the Internet, 77 percent were cell phone owners -- though only 18 percent had smartphones.

In all, 72 percent of all African Americans and 98 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 had either a broadband Internet connection or a smartphone.