Latinos Online, 2006-2008: Narrowing the Gap

From 2006 to 2008, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points, from 54% to 64%.  In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period.  Though Latinos continue to lag behind whites, the gap in internet use has shrunk considerably.

For Latinos, the increase in internet use has been fueled in large part by increases in internet use among groups that have typically had very low rates of internet use.  In particular, foreign-born Latinos, Latinos with less than a high school education, and Latinos with household incomes of less than $30,000 experienced particularly large increases in internet use.

Whereas Latinos gained markedly in overall internet use, the pattern of home internet access changed very little.  In 2006, 79% of Latinos online that had internet access at home, while in 2008, this number was 81%.  White and black internet users show a similar leveling off.  In 2006, 92% of white internet users had a home connection, compared with 94% in 2008. In 2006, 84% of African American internet users had a home connection, compared with 87% in 2008.

While there was little increase in the likelihood of having a home connection among internet users from 2006 to 2008, rates of broadband connection increased dramatically for Hispanics, as well as for whites and blacks.  In 2006, 63% of Hispanics with home internet access had a broadband connection; in 2008 this number was 76%.  For whites, there was a 17 percentage point increase in broadband connection from 65% to 82%, and for blacks, the increase was from 63% in 2006 to 78% in 2008.

These results are derived from a compilation of eight landline telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet & American Life Project from February to October 2006, and from August to December 2008.  In total, the Pew Hispanic Center surveys included 7,554 adults, and the Pew Internet & American Life Project surveys interviewed 13,687 adults.

Source: Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher, Pew Hispanic Center
Kim Parker, Senior Researcher, Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project
Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project

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