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Hispanics lag behind in internet usage, study says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Hispanics are less likely than whites to access the internet or have broadband, study says
  • Differences in educational level and income are likely factors behind the gap, it says
  • Study is based on two surveys

(CNN) -- Hispanics in the United States are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center released Wednesday.

The study found that differences in educational level and income are likely behind the digital gap, as the divide in most cases disappears when adjusted for those two factors.

Latinos also lag behind African-Americans in home broadband access but have similar rates of internet and cell phone use, the study found.

While about two-thirds of Hispanic and African-American adults went online in 2010, more than three-fourths of white adults did so, the study found. As for broadband use at home, the gap between Hispanics and whites is significant, the study says.

"The difference in internet use between Hispanics and whites is driven in part by the fact that Hispanics tend to have less education and lower incomes than whites," study author Gretchen Livingston wrote. "When education or income are controlled for, the ethnic differences in internet use disappear."

Educational attainment is also correlated with internet use, according to the study. While only 42% of Latinos without a high school diploma are online, that share increases to 68% for those who have completed high school. And 91% of Latinos who have attended at least some college say that they go online.

Household income is also strongly associated with internet use, the study says.

In households with incomes under $30,000 a year, some 57% of Hispanics use the internet, the study says. That number jumps up to 79% for Hispanic households that make between $30,000 and $49,999. And more than 90% of Latinos in households with incomes of more than $50,000 are online, the study found.

In sum, what the report found was that "Hispanics and whites who have similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies."

The report was based on two national surveys. The Pew Hispanic Center's 2010 National Survey of Latinos was a survey of 1,375 adults and had a margin of error of 3.3%. The second survey was the Pew Internet and American Life Project in August 2010, which surveyed 3,010 adults and had a margin of error of 2.5%.