More Minority Households Gain Internet Access
A recent survey on Internet usage reveals that minority households and senior citizens are making big strides when it comes to getting access to the Internet. The report, compiled from data captured in the syndicated Media Audit research survey, found that 44 percent of Black American households are on the Internet, an increase of 41 percent over the last three years. Among Hispanics, 42 percent of households have Internet access, an increase of 45 percent over the past three years. Sixty-three percent of Asian households were online in 1998 and 70 percent in 2000 — compared to 58 percent of White households in 2000.
The research draws on online and traditional media in more than 80 markets across the United States. Nearly 25 percent of retired households are on the Web. That represents an increase of 84 percent since l998. Households of those age 50 and older, both retired and not retired, increased their presence on the Web from almost 25 percent to more than 37 percent, an increase of more than 51 percent in three years.
“What we’re seeing in the latest research are the late arrivals,” says Bob Jordan, co-chairman of the Houston-based research firm that produces The Media Audit. “Initially the Web audience was populated by the young, affluent and well-educated. What we’re seeing now is the arrival of the less affluent and less educated. We’re also seeing minority participation rising sharply. Senior citizens and homemakers are also joining the Web audience at an impressive rate.”
Jordan says there has been a sharp rise in broadband users, creating a “two-tier market,” at least for now. Jordan predicts that Internet access will become as essential by 2010 as the telephone is today. He estimates that Internet penetration in the United States will peak and level off at 80 percent, similar to trends in the spread of television.
The research is based on more than 350,000 phone interviews during l998, l999 and 2000. “The research was conducted in the 80 plus markets in which we do business,” Jordan says, “and although it is not based on a traditional national sample we’re confident that the numbers do reflect accurately on what is happening on the Web nationally.”
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