The Income Digital Divide: Trends and Predictions for Levels of Internet Use

Dr. Steven Martin,
Dr John Robinson
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This paper replicates previous findings that the diffusion of the Internet is becoming more rather than less polarized by family income in the United States. Using multiple logistic regression and other odds-based analyses to assess Internet access in the United States from 1997 to 2003, this analysis confirms that the odds of access increased most rapidly for individuals at highest family income levels, and most slowly for individuals with the lowest income levels. These differential rates of diffusion, combined with an overall slowing of the diffusion of Internet use since 2001, suggest that it may be 2009 before a majority of low-income Americans use the Internet.

The slow diffusion among low income groups is not apparent in comparable assessments of Internet diffusion in European countries. Thus, these findings of slower Internet diffusion among low income groups do not appear to be a statistical artefact of the use of log-odds-based analyses on groups at very different points in a diffusion curve. Other issues about the assumptions underlying use of odds-based measures are discussed.

Keywords: Internet, Digital Divide, Income, Inequality, United States, Europe
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Steven Martin

Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Maryland - College Park

Dr John Robinson

Professor, Sociology, University of Maryland - College Park

Ref: T05P0319