Thursday, August 18, 2016

Internet Use: Urban vs. Rural

As internet use has become the norm over the years, the gap in internet use between urban and rural residents has remained the same, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Among Americans aged 3 or older in 2015, 75 percent of those in urban areas used the internet—6 percentage points greater than the 69 percent among rural residents. The same-sized gap existed as far back as 1998, says the NTIA. That's when the NTIA began to collect data on internet use through the biennial Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. In the olden days of 1998, 34 percent of urban residents and 28 percent of rural residents used the internet.

Interestingly, the rural-urban gap almost disappears among people with a college degree (88% urban vs. 87% rural). But the gap in internet use widens with less education: 4 percentage points for those with some college (84% urban vs. 80% rural), 6 percentage points for those with a high school diploma only (69% urban vs. 63% rural), and 7 percentage points for those without a high school diploma (59% urban vs. 52% rural).

Urban residents are also more likely to use every type of internet-connected device...

2015 device use by urban (and rural) residents aged 3 or older
Smartphone: 54% (45%)
Laptop computer: 48% (39%)
Desktop computer: 35% (29%)
Tablet computer: 30% (24%)

Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, The State of the Urban/Rural Digital Divide

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