By Gretchen Livingston
Latinos are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone, according to survey findings from the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Latinos lag behind blacks in home broadband access but have similar rates of internet and cell phone use.
While about two-thirds of Latino (65%) and black (66%) adults went online in 2010, more than three-fourths (77%) of white adults did so. In terms of broadband use at home, there is a large gap between Latinos (45%) and whites (65%), and the rate among blacks (52%) is somewhat higher than that of Latinos. Fully 85% of whites owned a cell phone in 2010, compared with 76% of Latinos and 79% of blacks.
Hispanics, on average, have lower levels of education and earn less than whites. Controlling for these factors, the differences in internet use, home broadband access and cell phone use between Hispanics and whites disappear. In other words, Hispanics and whites who have similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies.
Hispanics, on average, are also younger than whites. However, even within each age group, Hispanics show lower levels of technology use than do whites.
Survey questions also probed for the use of non-voice applications on cell phones. Respondents were asked specifically about whether they access the internet and whether they use email, texting or instant messaging from a cell phone. The findings reveal a mixed pattern of non-voice cell phone application use across ethnic and racial groups. Hispanics are less likely than whites to use any non-voice applications on a cell phone (58% vs. 64%), and they are also less likely than whites to send or receive text messages (55% vs. 61%). However, Hispanics and whites are equally likely to access the internet and send or receive email from a cell phone. And Hispanics are more likely than whites to engage in instant messaging (34% vs. 20%). Compared with blacks, Hispanics are less likely to access the internet (31% vs. 41%) or send or receive email (27% vs. 33%) from a cell phone, but rates of texting and instant messaging are similar for the two groups. Read More