July 20, 2016

Digital Divide Narrows for Latinos as More Spanish Speakers and Immigrants Go Online

2. Broadband subscriptions among Latinos little changed since 2010

Overall, 59% of Hispanic adults report that they currently subscribe to internet service of any kind at home, but the demographic divides in home internet subscription rates among Hispanics are wide. For example, among Hispanic adults with less than a high school education, just one-third say they have a home internet subscription. Meanwhile, 80% of those with at least some college experience have home internet.

There is a similar gap across age groups among Hispanics. Among younger Hispanics – those ages 18 to 29 – around three-quarters (72%) say they subscribe to home internet. This share is smaller for older Hispanics, and only 29% of those ages 65 and older have a home internet subscription.

Looking at Hispanics by nativity and language dominance, two measures that are closely linked to each other, those who are foreign born (48%) or Spanish dominant (35%) are much less likely to have home internet than those who are U.S. born (72%) or English dominant (75%). Bilingual Hispanics (69%) fall between the English and the Spanish dominant, but more closely resemble English-dominant Hispanics.

Broadband use among Hispanics in 2015 varies across demographic subgroups

While the majority of Latinos who have a home internet subscription have a higher-speed broadband service such as DSL, cable or fiber-optic (85%) rather than dial-up (8%), the same groups that are the most likely to have a home internet subscription of any kind are also the most likely to have broadband service among home internet subscribers. 4

Among Hispanic adults, those who are young (59% of those ages 18 to 29 and 47% of those ages 30 to 49), U.S. born (61%), English dominant (65%) or the most highly educated (69% of those with at least some college experience and 47% of high school graduates) are the most likely to subscribe to a high-speed broadband service rather than dial-up internet service or no home internet service at all.

For example, while about two-in-ten Hispanic adults with less than a high school education (18%) report that they have broadband, 47% of high school graduates and 69% of those with at least some college experience say the same.

The U.S. born are about twice as likely as the foreign born to say they have a broadband subscription (61% vs. 35%) and the English dominant and bilingual are similarly more likely than the Spanish dominant to say this (65% of English-dominant Hispanics vs. 56% of bilingual Hispanics and 21% of the Spanish dominant).

Some 59% of Hispanics ages 18 to 29 say they have a broadband subscription, compared with about half (47%) of those ages 30 to 49, 35% of those ages 50 to 64 and only 21% of those ages 65 and older.

Little change in broadband use among Hispanics since 2010

While internet use among Hispanics is on the rise, the share with a subscription to home high-speed or broadband internet is little changed since 2010 and lags behind the share of whites with home broadband service.

Just 46% of Hispanic adults in 2015 say they have home broadband service, virtually unchanged since 2010 when 45% said the same. A greater share of blacks than Hispanics – 55% versus 46% in 2015 – have home broadband service, yet for blacks too, the share with home broadband is little changed since 2010, when 50% had the service. Meanwhile, the share of whites with broadband home service is 73% in 2015, up 9 percentage points since 2010.

  1. Respondents who volunteered other responses, including “both dial-up and broadband,” “access internet only using cellphone or tablet” and “no home internet access” were excluded from this analysis. An additional 6% gave a response of “don’t know/refused.”