The digital lives of Americans with lower and higher incomes remain very different, even as broadband adoption has grown rapidly. According to a recent report by Pew Research, technology adoption remains lower for Americans with lower incomes, and this gap has not significantly changed over the past few years.
Twenty-four percent of households with incomes below $30,000 a year say they do not own a smartphone, 43% do not have home broadband service, and 41% do not have a desktop or laptop computer. For households with incomes above $100,000 a year, more than 90% have each of those technologies. In addition, higher incomes are likely to own multiple devices, with 63% reporting having home broadband services, a smartphone, a computer, and a tablet.
Due to fewer options for internet access, 27% of adults in households earning less than $30,000 a year are smartphone-only internet users, compared to only 6% of those in households earning more than $100,000.
IIA recently launched a Connected Roundtable to explore ways to close this digital divide. Participants identified three cornerstones to help low-income families cover internet costs, including a permanent broadband subsidy, a separate subsidy for broadband connectivity so consumers don’t have to choose between mobile phone service and in-home broadband service, and an increase in the Lifeline subsidy amount.
Source: Pew Research