U.S. Latinos Less Likely to Use Internet

In a study which underscores both income disparities and the prevalence of English in the online world, a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that while 71 percent of white adults and 60 percent of black adults in the United States report they use the Internet, overall just 56 percent of adult Latinos report that they go online. The numbers are even lower for Latinos whose dominant language is Spanish: less than one third (32 percent) go online.

The report finds that education was the most significant factor differentiating U.S. adults who use the Internet and those who do not. Some 89 percent of Latinos who have a college degree go online, compared to 70 percent of those who completed high school. Only 31 percent of Latinos who did not complete high school go online. The report also found just 29 percent of Hispanic adults have broadband Internet connections to their homes.

The report also found that U.S.-born Latinos are more likely to use the Internet 76 percent) than those who were born outside the United States (43 percent). The report finds that some of this disparity is independent of language: being born outside the United States is an independent factor associated with lower levels of online use among U.S. Latinos.

Online use among U.S. Latinos also varied with income: 88 percent of U.S. Latino’s who reported incomes over $50,000 a year said they used the Internet, compared to 39 percent of Latinos with annual incomes below $30,000. According the report, higher incomes are associated with higher likelihood of Internet use, even controlling for language, nativity, and other factors. Age also played a role in which U.S. Latinos use the Internet: the U.S. Latino population is young compared to (say) the white population of the United States, and the report found that 67 percent of Latinos between the ages of 18 and 29 report using the Internet, along with 61 percent of Latinos ages 30 to 41. However, those percentages are still significantly lower than white and African American demographics.