Closing the Internet Access Gap Among African Americans

Figure 1

(February 19, 2019) – Our credo affirms that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. As we commemorate Black History Month, we can see where strides have been made in this effort, even as more improvements are needed.

At a recent forum held by the Multicultural Media Caucus and Nielsen, participants noted that “African Americans are entering a technology-driven marketplace with an unprecedented sense of community, economic consciousness, and digital-native know-how.”[1] Data from the United States Census Bureau show this to be true: Although African Americans are still less likely to subscribe to home internet service, the gap has been closing over the past several years (Figure 1).

As of 2017 (the most recent data available from the Census Bureau), nearly 4.3 million African-American households (10.8%, or nearly one out of nine) had no home internet service. In comparison, the United States average is just 7.7% of households without home internet. This gap matters because so many necessities like job opportunities, local news, and educational tools are now found primarily online.

Figure 2

The good news is that this gap has been shrinking. Although African-American households still lag behind the U.S. average in terms of internet subscriptions, the latest information from the United States Census Bureau shows that gap closing between 2015 and 2017 (Figure2).

We at Connected Nation will continue to work at closing that gap to ensure everyone has the ability to benefit from all that broadband offers.

[1] http://broadbandandsocialjustice.org/2018/12/mmtc-chief-of-staff-speaks-at-congressional-briefing-discussing-from-consumers-to-creators-the-digital-lives-of-black-consumers-report/

 

 

About the Author: Chris McGovern is the Director of Research Development for Connected Nation. Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.

 

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