The Digital Divide is Narrowing for Many Latinos


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New research has shown that the long-existing digital divide, the gap between Latino Internet users and whites, is at its narrowest point since 2009. Immigrant and Spanish-speaking Latinos made big strides in going online, according to Pew Research Center’s 2015 National Survey of Latinos.

While Latinos still lag behind on broadband access and usage – the survey showed little change from 2010 to 2015 – the new data is encouraging. Latinos have long been ahead of the curve in accessing the Internet via smartphones and other mobile devices. In terms of access, Latinos are the most likely racial/ethnic group to own a smartphone, live in a household without a landline telephone, live in a household with only one cellphone, and have access to the Internet via a mobile device.

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Since 2009, the number of Latinos who use the Internet has increased from 64% to 84% in 2015. Over that same time period, the rate of Internet usage among whites rose as well, but at a slower rate from 80% to 89%.

The decline in the overall rate can be, again, attributed to the Internet usage habits of immigrant and Spanish-speaking Latinos. The two groups have long had the lowest rates of Internet usage among Hispanics; however, between 2009 and 2015, their rates of Internet usage rose from 51% to a staggering 78%.

The demographic profile of Latino Internet users has also changed and has become more representative of the overall Latino adult population. In 2015, immigrant Latinos made up about half of all adult Latino Internet users; this was up from 44% in 2009. Spanish-dominant Latinos made up 32% of all Latino internet users in 2015, up from 20% in 2009.

Read more about Pew Hispanic Research’s findings here.

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