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Infographic – Digital Divide Continues Across Platforms

Chart: Tech use by income

(Pew Research Center)

26 June 2021. Despite gains with smartphones, people with lower incomes in the U.S. continue to use digital technologies less than those with higher incomes. Data compiled by Pew Research Center earlier this year also indicate increasing use of multiple personal and home electronic platforms as family income rises.

The Pew Research findings show continuing growth in the adoption of digital technologies throughout American society, particularly smartphones. Nearly all survey respondents (97%) in families with annual incomes of $100,000 or more say they use smartphones, along with nearly nine in10 (87%) of those in families with $30,000 to $100,000, and three-quarters (76%) of respondents in families making less than $30,000. Among those in families making less than $30,000, roughly one in four (27%) use only smartphones for going online, more than double the 12 percent with a smartphone but no home broadband in 2013.

Use of other digital technologies also rises with family income. More than nine in 10 respondents in families making $100,000 or more have broadband connections at home or have a desktop or laptop computer, 93 and 92 percent respectively, as do more than eight in 10 people, 83 and 84 percent, in families making $30,000 to $100,000. Among families making less than $30,000, however, use of broadband or desktop or laptop computers barely reaches six in 10 individuals, 57 and 59 percent respectively.

A majority of families in the U.S. making $100,000 or more (63%) use all of these technologies — smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, and home broadband connections — plus tablet computers, a number exceeding families in other income groups. Roughly four in 10 (42%) in families with $30,000 to $100,000 incomes use all four technologies, as do 23 percent in families making less than $30,000. And 13 percent of families in the lowest income group have access to none of these technologies.

Pew Research Center surveyed 1,502 adults in the U.S. from 25 Jan. to 8 Feb. 2021, by landline and cellular telephone. The data are weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, education, and other categories.

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