California's Digital Divide: Closing but still there

The Public Policy Institute of California has released its latest survey of the digital divide in California. While it contains signs of progress and reasons for optimism, it also notes how much further there is still to go.

Among the report’s findings: 

  • “A large majority of Californians—73%—have a broadband Internet connection at home, up sharply from 55% in 2008. Broadband access at home is 7 points higher in California than in the nation as a whole: Nationwide, 66% of adults report having broadband (Pew Internet & American Life Project). Currently, 87% of Californians use the Internet (up from 70% in 2008), compared to 85% of adults nationwide.”
  • “Home broadband access among Latinos has increased sharply since 2008 (from 34% to 58%), but other racial/ethnic groups are still much more likely to use broadband: whites (84%), Asians (76%), and blacks (74%).”
  • “Older Californians are less likely than younger residents to report broadband or Internet use. Those age 55 and older are the least likely to report using this technology (63% broadband, 76% Internet) compared to those in the 35–54 age group (74% broadband, 89% Internet) and the 18–34 age group (82% broadband, 96% Internet).”
  • “Sixty percent of adults use a cell phone to access the Internet, a 41-point increase since 2008 (19% 2008, 60% today). Residents ages 18 to 34 are far more likely than adults age 55 and older to use a cell phone to go online (78% vs. 37%). “
  • “Using a cell phone to access the Internet is highest among blacks (72%), followed by whites (62%), Latinos (57%), and Asians (56%).”
  • ” The percentage of adults using cell phones to connect to the Internet increases sharply with education and is far higher among those with household incomes of $80,000 or more than among less affluent Californians.”