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Affluent Minorities Embrace Broadband, But Gap Remains

in Broadband Data/Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2010 - Affluent minorities are making big gains in broadband adoption, but lower income, less educated black and Hispanics are lagging behind, according to a new study.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research group focusing on minority concerns and issues, reports that 94 percent of African Americans and 98 percent of Hispanics who have college degrees are now online. College-educated minority Americans who earn more than $50,000 annually are adopting broadband at the fastest rate of any group in the United States, the study found.

Across all education and income brackets, the report says that 69 percent of African Americans and 58 percent of Hispanics now regularly use the internet, compared with 79 percent of whites. It also found that the rate of broadband adoption in African American homes has risen to 59 percent from the 46 percent reported last year by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

However, the new report also found that only about one-third of low-income, older and less educated blacks and Hispanics regularly use the Internet.

“There is a ‘tale of two cities’ element in our research as poorer and less educated people – who perhaps can benefit most from use of the Internet – are still much less likely to be online,” said Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president and director of the Joint Center's Media and Technology Institute. “This should continue to be a key issue for our policymakers as we invest in broadband improvements across the nation.”

In the study, 92 percent of low-income African Americans have used the Internet to search for a job, almost double rate of low-income whites, while 77 percent of blacks and 64 percent of Hispanics with less than a high school education rely on the Internet for job search, compared to 17 percent of whites in this group. These same minority populations also regularly access the Internet to search and apply for public benefits.

The report also notes that low-income people rely heavily on public institutions such as libraries, schools and community centers for internet access.

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