March 7, 2013

Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption

II. Internet Use

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-05The share of Latino adults who go online has been on the rise. According to the Pew Hispanic Center survey, more than three-in-four (78%) Latinos say they use the internet or send or receive email at least occasionally. This is up 14 percentage points since 2009, when 64% said they at least occasionally went online.

Gains in the share of Latinos going online have been largely driven by growing shares of foreign-born Latinos and Spanish-dominant Latinos online. Since 2009, internet use rates among these groups increased 18 percentage points and 27 percentage points respectively.

However, despite these gains, a digital divide continues to exist among Hispanics, with English-dominant Hispanics and native-born Hispanics more likely to go online than Spanish-dominant Hispanics and foreign-born Hispanics.

Among Hispanics, Who Goes Online?

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-06Across demographic subgroups of Hispanics, internet use rates vary. Nearly all (95%)

Hispanic adults with family incomes of $50,000 or more say they go online at least occasionally, as do young Hispanics ages 18 to 29 (93%), and Hispanics with annual family incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 (93%).

Internet usage shares are lowest among the Spanish dominant (63%), those who do not have a high school diploma (58%) and those ages 65 and older (33%), though only among older Hispanics is the share that goes online less than half.

Internet use rates are also linked to educational attainment. As noted above, those who have no high school diploma are least likely to go online (58%). Among those with a high school diploma, 85% go online at least occasionally. And among those with some college education, 91% go online.

Demographics of Hispanic Internet Users

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-07Hispanic internet users are demographically different from Hispanics who do not use the internet.

Half (50%) of Hispanic internet users are U.S. born, while about two-in-ten (21%) Hispanics who do not use the internet are U.S. born.

Hispanic internet users are more likely to be fluent in English than are Hispanic non-internet users. Among internet users, nearly three-in-four are either English dominant (31%) or bilingual (41%). By comparison, fewer than half of non-internet users are either English dominant (13%) or bilingual (29%).

Having children in a household is linked to going online. Half (52%) of Hispanic internet users have dependent children under age 18 living in their households. Among Hispanic non-internet users, about one-third (35%) have dependent children under 18 living in their households.

Latino internet users are also more likely to be ages 18 to 29 (35%) than Latinos who do not use the internet (9%). And they are less likely to be ages 65 or older—4% versus 26% respectively.

Educational attainment is also linked to going online. More than four-in-ten (42%) Latino internet users have some college experience. By comparison, just 15% of non-internet users have some college experience.

Similarly, annual family income is correlated with going online. Fewer than half (46%) of Hispanic internet users have annual family incomes below $30,000. By contrast, nearly two-thirds (64%) of non-internet users have annual family incomes below $30,000.

Accessing the Internet Through a Mobile Device

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-08Three-in-four (76%) Hispanic internet users say they access the internet on a cellphone, tablet or other mobile handheld device at least occasionally, according to the Pew Hispanic survey.

Among Latino internet users, usage rates vary across demographic subgroups. Fully 87% of Latinos ages 18 to 29 and those with annual family incomes of $50,000 or more say they access the internet through a mobile device. By contrast, about three-in-ten (29%) Latino internet users ages 65 and older access the internet through a mobile device.

Language is closely related to accessing the internet through a handheld device. Some 81% of English-dominant and 79% of bilingual Latino internet users say they use a mobile handheld device like a cellphone or tablet computer to access the internet. By contrast, 65% of Spanish-dominant Latino internet users do the same.

Nativity is also closely related to mobile internet use. Some 81% of native-born Hispanic internet users access the internet through a mobile device. By comparison, 70% of foreign-born Hispanic internet users say the same.

Demographics of Hispanic Mobile Internet Users

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-09Hispanic internet users who access the internet through a mobile device are demographically different from those who go online but do not do so from a mobile device.

More than half (54%) of Hispanic internet users who access the internet from a mobile device are U.S. born. By contrast, just 39% of Hispanic internet users who access the internet only from non-mobile devices are native born.

Latino mobile internet users are more likely to be English dominant or bilingual than are Hispanic internet users who do not use a mobile device. Among those who use a mobile device to access the internet, nearly three-quarters (76%) are either English dominant (33%) or bilingual (43%). By comparison, about six-in-ten (59%) of those who access the internet only from non-mobile devices are either English dominant (24%) or bilingual (34%).

Latinos who access the internet with mobile devices are also more likely than Latinos who do not use mobile devices to access the internet to be ages 18 to 29—41% versus 19%. And they are less likely to be ages 65 or older—1% versus 11%.

Educational attainment is also linked to going online with a mobile device. More than four-in-ten (45%) Latino mobile internet users have some college experience. By comparison, three-in-ten (30%) internet users who do not access the web with a mobile device have some college experience.

Similarly, high family income is correlated with using a mobile device for accessing the internet. About three-in-ten (29%) Hispanic internet users who use a mobile device to access the internet have annual family incomes of $50,000 or more. By contrast, just 14% of internet users who access the internet only from non-mobile devices have annual family incomes of $50,000 or above.