Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Toward Universal Broadband Internet Access
Download report: Progress_Toward_Universal_Access_NTIA_22010.pdf
During the first decade of the 21st Century, U.S. broadband Internet connectivity by households has increased dramatically as its importance to our economy and way of life has grown. Based on a survey of over 50,000 households commissioned by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and conducted by the United States Census Bureau, virtually all demographic groups have increased their adoption of broadband services at home over time. The data also reveal that demographic disparities among groups have persisted over time. Persons with high incomes, those who are younger, Asians and Whites, the more highly- educated, married couples, and the employed tend to have higher rates of broadband use at home. Conversely, persons with low incomes, seniors, minorities, the less-educated, non-family households, and the non-employed tend to lag behind other groups in home broadband use.
Survey results demonstrate that persons in rural areas are less likely to use the Internet. For example, Blacks and Hispanics in rural areas exhibit a lesser propensity to use broadband than their counterparts in urban areas. A substantial difference in home broadband penetration remains between urban and rural areas. Although the gap has declined since 2007, it still is significant.
Despite the growing importance of the Internet in American life, over 30 percent of households and 35 percent of persons do not use the Internet at home, and 30 percent of all persons do not use the Internet anywhere. Those with no broadband access at home amount to more than 35 percent of all households and approximately 40 percent of all persons, with a larger proportion in rural areas in both categories. Overall, the two most important reasons given by survey respondents for not having broadband access at home are “don’t need” and “too expensive.”1 Inadequate or no computer is also a major reason given for no home broadband adoption. In rural America, lack of availability is a much more important reason for non-adoption than in urban areas.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will undertake a more detailed analysis later this year when the full data base becomes available, and anticipates sponsoring new collections of Census data and conducting analyses of these data bases. We also will look forward to the findings that the broader research community will provide based on this data.