Global earnings on the Internet
By Monica Anderson and Madhumitha Kumar Thirty years after the debut of the World Wide Webinternet use, broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown rapidly for all Americans — including those who are less well-off financially.
But even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different.
And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. Higher-income Americans are also more likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online. With fewer options for online access at their disposal, many lower-income Americans are relying more on smartphones.
This reliance on smartphones also means that the less affluent are more likely to use them for tasks traditionally reserved for larger screens. For example, lower-income smartphone owners were especially likely to use their mobile device when seeking out and applying for jobs, according to a Pew Research Center report.
Census Bureau data.
The digital divide has been a central topic in tech circles for decades with researchers, advocates and policymakers examining this issue. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai reiterated his commitment to bringing high-speed internet services to lower-income communities, though there are partisan differences in views of how this should be carried out. Note: See full topline results and methodology here.
This is an update of a post originally published March 22, Read the other posts in our digital divide series:.