March 7, 2013

Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption

V. Computer Ownership

Nearly three-in-four (72%) Latinos say they own a desktop or laptop computer, according to the Pew Hispanic Center survey. Compared with the general public, computer ownership among Latinos is lower—79% versus 72%.

Overall, whites have the highest desktop/laptop ownership rate—83%. By comparison, 70% of blacks say they own a desktop or laptop computer (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 2012b).

Among Latinos, Who Owns a Computer?

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-14Computer ownership rates are highest among Latino adults with annual family incomes of $50,000 or more (95%), those with some college education (89%) and those with annual family incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 (87%).

The lowest ownership rates among Hispanics are among those ages 65 and older (35%), those with no high school diploma (51%) and those who are Spanish dominant (59%).

The Pew Hispanic survey reveals a few other notable patterns of ownership among Latinos. The native born are more likely than the foreign born to say they have a desktop or laptop computer—83% versus 64%. Similarly, English-dominant Latinos and bilingual Latinos are more likely than Spanish-dominant Latinos to say they own a computer—82% and 78% versus 59% respectively.

Educational attainment is also closely related to computer ownership. Among those with less than a high school diploma, half (51%) own a computer. Among those with a high school diploma, the share rises to 76%. And among those with some college education or more, nearly nine-in-ten (89%) say they own a desktop or laptop computer.

Demographics of Latino Computer Owners

2013-03_Latinos-Technology-15Latino computer owners, compared with Latinos who do not own a computer, are more likely to be young, to have higher levels of educational attainment and to have higher family incomes. They are also more likely to be married and to live in households with dependent children. Also, they are more likely to be U.S. born and to be bilingual or English dominant.

About one-third (34%) of Latino computer owners are ages 18 to 29. By contrast, just 17% of Latinos who do not own a computer are ages 18 to 29. Conversely, only 4% of Latino computer owners are ages 65 or older, while 20% of those without a computer are in the same age group.

Latino computer owners are three times as likely as Latinos who do not own a computer to have some college education or more—44% versus 14% respectively.

Computer ownership is linked to family income. About one-fourth (27%) of Latino computer owners have annual family incomes of $50,000 or more, compared with just 4% of those without a computer. In addition, 44% of Latino computer owners have annual family incomes below $30,000, compared with 67% of those without a computer.

There is also a difference in marital status and household structure between Latinos who own a computer and those who do not. About half (51%) of Latino computer owners are married, compared with about a third (35%) of those without a computer. Similarly, Latino adults who own a computer are more likely than Latinos adults who do not own a computer to live in a household with a dependent child under 18—52% versus 36%.

Additionally, half of Hispanic computer owners are U.S. born (50%), compared with 27% of those who do not own a computer. Similarly, Hispanic computer owners are more likely to be bilingual (41%) or English dominant (30%) than Hispanics without a computer are (31% and 17% respectively).