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computer-150x150New census data shows there is a digital divide in our community. More than 85,000 people who live in Monroe County do not have a computer or an Internet connection at home. City residents are more likely not to have access to high-speed broadband.

Let’s take a look at the 2013 American Community Survey.

How many households have a computer?

The survey shows 83 percent of Monroe County households have a computer, which can include smartphones. That’s on par with the national and state averages. In the City of Rochester, only 74 percent of households has a computer.

How many households have broadband Internet?

Here again, Monroe County follows state and national averages, with three of four households having a high-speed Internet connection. In the City of Rochester, only three of five households has broadband.

Do children have broadband Internet at home?

In Monroe County, 81 percent of children under 18 have high-speed Internet at home. This is on par with state and national averages. In the City of Rochester, 62 percent of children have broadband Internet at home.

Do senior citizens have broadband Internet at home?

Three of five people 65 years and older in Monroe County have high-speed Internet at home, again comparable to state and national averages. In the City of Rochester, only two of five seniors has broadband Internet at home.

How many people only have access to the Internet on their smartphones?

In the United States, 7 percent of people only have a mobile broadband subscription at home. In New York State, 4 percent of people fall into this category. In Monroe County, 5 percent of people only have smartphone Internet at home. That’s more than 30,000 people. In the City of Rochester, the rate of mobile-only broadband jumps to 13 percent.

What types of broadband Internet are in households?

In Monroe County, cable rules, with 70 percent of households getting their Internet through cable. Fourteen percent of households have a DSL subscription. 1.5 percent have satellite Internet and .7 percent have fiber optic.

Must be Nice

Four percent of Monroe County households access the Internet without a subscription. This includes people who get Internet for free from universities…or their neighbors’ Wi-Fi?

What does this mean?

High-speed Internet is a vital way to apply for jobs, communicate with current and future employers, take classes, stay informed about our community, and learn about the world.

An awful lot of people cannot use the Internet at home in our community. This makes the continued availability of terminals at our libraries so important. This is especially important for households with children, who increasingly need broadband to complete assignments. The Internet also offers so many opportunities to explore the world that children in broadband-less homes will not be able to access as easily. It’s also concerning that so many people are only relying on smartphones, which are more limited in capabilities, for Internet access.

The survey doesn’t ask why people don’t have broadband at home. It’s possible they don’t value high-speed Internet, but I’m guessing it’s more likely they can’t afford it.

 

Join Me on October 26

 

The Women’s Foundation of the Genesee Valley helps poor women and children succeed. The group gives grants to programs proven to help them get on their feet – and stay on their feet. Please consider walking with me on October 26 and/or making a small donation!

 

Links of the Day:

 

– Downstate superintendents call on the state to scrap the horribly flawed teacher evaluation system.

– A former NFL ball boy describes a very violent sport, but concludes the only change needed is more emotional support for players.

– A couple spent $7,000 on a run-down 19th Ward house and completed a remarkable transformation.

– On this National Coming Out Day, I’m so proud of my cousin for being open and passionate about her transgender child.

– This article makes kid-carpooling sound like absolute hell.

The brunch backlash.

Remembering Jimmy the Chimp.

2 Responses to Our Digital Divide

  1. October 18, 2014 at 12:49 am Lincoln DeCoursey responds:

    High Speed Internet may be advertised starting at $15-$20 monthly, but the real cost is usually higher due to taxes and such. And anybody who already owes the ISPs for an old bill may have trouble getting service established even if they could afford it.

    The 19-point city vs. county divide for HSI access among children under 18 is particularly pronounced. Those city neighborhoods having a disproportionate percentage of young children – Edgerton being an example – also tend to be the ones with higher poverty. The general pattern has been for families with school-age children to leave the city if feasible, however the city is a place where both college-age people and empty nesters will often return to live by choice. The city has had good luck in drawing these demographics.

  2. Pingback: Disconnected » The Rochesterian

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