Pew finds that a quarter (26%) of lower-income Americans rely on their smartphones for internet access

Pew recently published their latest post in a series examining how different demographic groups use technology and access the internet. Their analysis found that a digital divide persists between lower- and higher-income Americans, despite growing internet and technology use across the board.

Survey respondents making less than $30,000 per year have lower levels of technology adoption than their wealthier counterparts do. About 3 in 10 (29%) lower-income respondents reported they do not own a smartphone, while nearly all respondents making above $100,000 per year do. Similarly, more than 2 in 5 lower-income respondents do not have access to home broadband services (44%) or a traditional desktop or laptop computer (46%), while more than 90% of the wealthiest respondents have adopted both of these technologies.

Higher-income respondents are also more likely to own multiple options for online access. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents making more than $100,000 per year have home access to broadband internet, a smartphone, a traditional computer, and a tablet. A little less than 1 in 5 (18%) lower-income respondents said the same. A quarter (26%) of lower-income respondents said that they rely on smartphones for internet access, a number that has doubled since 2013 (12%). Reliance on smartphones can make online tasks that are not optimized for smartphones, like doing homework and applying for jobs, more difficult.

The full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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