March 14, 2007

Latinos Online

IV. Latinos Offline

Latinos who do not go online are likely to say they simply do not have access to the internet

Forty-four percent of Latino adults do not use the internet. The offline Latino population is characterized by lower educational attainment and a lower likelihood to speak English. Fully 69% of Hispanics who did not complete high school and 68% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics are offline.

Of Latinos who do not go online, 53% say they simply do not have access. In addition, 18% of non-user Latino adults say they are not interested in going online, 10% say going online is too difficult or frustrating, 6% say it is too expensive to get access, and 5% say they are too busy or do not have the time to go online.

By comparison, in a telephone survey conducted in May-June 2005, just 30% of white adults said they did not use the internet. Of those, 30% said the main reason they did not go online is that they did not have access. Thirty-one percent of non-user white adults said they are not interested in going online, 7% said it is too difficult or frustrating, 5% said it is too expensive, and 3% said they are too busy or do not have the time to go online.1

Six in ten Latino adults have a cell phone and half send or receive text messages

The communications revolution is not limited to the computer screen. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to consider the cell phone a necessity, rather than a luxury. Fully 59% of Hispanics consider them a necessity, compared with fewer than half of non-Hispanic whites (46%) and non- Hispanic blacks (46%).2

However, Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to own a cell phone. Fully 75% of non-Hispanic white adults have a cell phone and 31% of white cell phone users send and receive text messages on their phone.3 By comparison, 59% of Latino adults have a cell phone and 49% of Latino cell phone users send and receive text messages on their phone. Looking at the numbers in a different way, 56% of Latino adults go online, 18% of Latino adults have a cell phone but do not go online, and 24% of Latino adults have neither a cell phone nor an internet connection.

Cell phone ownership is associated with essentially the same demographic characteristics as internet usage. For example, cell phone use is markedly lower for Spanish-speakers: 42% have a mobile phone, compared with 75% of English-dominant Latinos. Nativeborn Latinos are more likely than foreign-born Latinos to use a cell phone – 72% versus 50%. However, Latinos over age 60 are more likely to have a cell phone than an internet connection, which is also true in the non-Hispanic population.

  1. numoffset=”11″ “Digital Divisions” (Pew Internet & American Life Project, October 2005).
  2. “Luxury or Necessity? Things We Can’t Live Without: The List Has Grown in the Past Decade” (Pew Research Center, December 2006).
  3. “Cell Phone Use” (Pew Internet & American Life Project, April 2006).