The Digital Divide

I came across an interesting New York Times article, “Digital Divide Is a Matter of Income,” where Teddy Wayne explains that the greatest indicator of Internet access and use is based on household income of Americans. This information is based from findings of a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

Furthermore, Wayne states that households with an income of $75,000 and more greatly exceed households that earn less than $75,000. This distinction is increased when comparing households earning more than $75,000 per year to households earning less than $30,000 per year.

The individuals from upper income households are more likely to own computers, mobile phones, e-readers and other entertainment devices that use the Internet. And, at least 95 percent of higher income households utilize the Internet in some way, while only 57 percent of poorer households have access to the Internet at home. According to Jim Jansen, a senior fellow with Pew Research Center, “the correlation between income and participation in many Internet activities might be expected.” However, Jansen continues by noting how “the scale” of which “shows the impact that income has on leveraging the advantages of the Internet.”

Wayne investigates the reasons for why people use the Internet while comparing household income. He discovers that wealthier households use the Internet for health information and online commerce activities more often then less fortunate households. And, although there is a small difference between engagement in print and television news sources, the highest income households are more than “twice as likely as the poorest to read online news.”