Digital Divide Persists Even as Americans with Lower Incomes Make Gains in Tech Adoption

Posted by Pew Research Center on July 6, 2021

An analysis from Pew Research Center explores the differences between low- and high-income adults and use of technology and digital access. Roughly a quarter of adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year say they do not own a smartphone, and about four in ten adults with lower incomes do not have home broadband services (43 percent) or a desktop or laptop computer (41 percent). By comparison, roughly six in ten adults living in households earning $100,000 or more a year (63 percent) report having home broadband services, a smartphone, a desktop or laptop computer and a tablet, compared with 23 percent of those living in lower-income households. As of early 2021, 27 percent of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year were smartphone-only internet users – meaning they own a smartphone but do not have broadband internet at home. Research suggests that this reliance on smartphones means that the less affluent are more likely to use them for tasks traditionally reserved for larger screens such as seeking out and applying for jobs.

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