This report on African Americans and technology is the first in a series of demographic snapshots of technology use and adoption among different groups of adults in the United States. Based on a survey of 6,010 American adults, including 664 who identify as African American, it offers a detailed look at a number of key subgroups within the black population such as: men vs. women, old vs. young, low income vs. high income, and parents vs. non-parents.
The black/white “digital divide” continues to persist, but is not consistent across technology platforms or demographic groups
African Americans have long been less likely than whites to use the internet and to have high speed broadband access at home, and that continues to be the case. Today, African Americans trail whites by seven percentage points when it comes to overall internet use (87% of whites and 80% of blacks are internet users), and by twelve percentage points when it comes to home broadband adoption (74% of whites and 62% of blacks have some sort of broadband connection at home). At the same time, blacks and whites are on more equal footing when it comes to other types of access, especially on mobile platforms.
In addition, the gap between whites and blacks when it comes to traditional measures of internet and broadband adoption is more pronounced among certain demographic subgroups than among others. Specifically, older African Americans, as well as those who have not attended college, are significantly less likely to go online or to have broadband service at home compared to whites with a similar demographic profile. African Americans age 65 and older have especially low adoption rates compared with whites. Just 45% of black seniors are internet users, and 30% have broadband at home (among white seniors, 63% go online and 51% are broadband adopters).
On the other hand, young, college-educated, and higher-income African Americans are just as likely as their white counterparts to use the internet and to have broadband service at home. Some 86% of African Americans ages 18-29 are home broadband adopters, as are 88% of black college graduates and 91% of African Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or more per year. These figures are all well above the national average for broadband adoption, and are identical to whites of similar ages, incomes, and education levels.