Smartphones helping close digital divide of Internet use

June 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- While a digital divide of Internet use persists among racial and ethnic groups, smartphones are helping bridge the divide, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

The report released Monday, "Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2011," shows a sizable percentage of Internet users now make their online connections both inside and outside the home and from multiple devices.

"Going online is no longer a simple yes or no proposition," sociologist and report author Thom File said in a bureau release. "Different groups of people are accessing the Internet in very different ways, and these statistics give us a better understanding of how and where those connections are taking place."

While a gap of 27.1 percentage points exists between groups with the highest and lowest reported rates of home Internet use -- Asians at 78.3 percent and Hispanics at 51.2 percent -- the gap narrows to 17.5 percentage points when smartphone use is factored into overall rates of Internet use, the report found.

In 2011, 27.0 percent of Americans -- considered "high connectivity" users -- connected to the Internet from multiple locations and multiple devices, while 15.9 percent had had no computer or Internet access at all.

The remaining 57.1 percent of Americans were located somewhere between these two extremes, the report said.

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