An internet connection has never been more essential, but your access to it still largely depends on your income level, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
While broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown steadily for all Americans over the past decade, there are still significant differences by race and income tier. Those with higher incomes are far more likely to own a home computer, smartphone and tablet, while those making less more often rely on a smartphone exclusively to get online.
The digital lives of Americans with lower and higher incomes remain markedly different.
Tech adoption varies by income
The Pew study found that around a quarter of adults making under $30,000 a year say they don’t own a smartphone, while roughly 4-in-10 don’t own a desktop or laptop computer or subscribe to a home broadband service.
In comparison, these are virtually universal for Americans with incomes over $100,000. 97% in this group owns a smartphone, 93% have a home broadband connection and 92% own a desktop or laptop computer. Roughly 6-in-10 in this income group have one of each device, compared with only 2-in-10 from the lowest bracket.
Low-income Americans are more likely to rely on smartphones for internet
Because nearly half of low-income households don’t have a home broadband connection, they’re far more likely to rely on smartphones exclusively to access the internet. In Pew’s latest survey, 27% of respondents making less than $30,000 a year used a smartphone, but didn’t have a home internet connection — more than double what it was in 2013.
In fact, all income groups have increasingly relied only on smartphones to get online, although the percentages are much lower for households making above $30,000. While smartphones can be useful for some online activities, it’s virtually impossible to do things like homework assignments, job applications or remote work without a computer and a broadband connection.
Allconnect: Let us compare providers for you
Why should you choose Allconnect? We’re the #1 broadband marketplace in the U.S, meaning you can trust us to search, compare and order internet and TV service for your home.Get started
Written by:Joe Supan
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
Joe Supan is the senior writer for Allconnect and MyMove. He has helped build the proprietary metrics used on Allconnect’s review pages, utilizing thousands of data points to help readers navigate these comple… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
- FeaturedDigital divide: Organizations that are helping bridge the gap Joe Supan — 6 min read
- FeaturedSurvey: The digital divide falls along racial, economic lines Joe Supan — 5 min read
- FeaturedReport: 18 million Americans still don’t use the internet Joe Supan — 3 min read
Wednesday, February 1, 2023Router login: How to sign in and access your settings
Taylor Gadsden — 4 min read
Tuesday, January 31, 2023Federal programs provide millions for rural internet access
Camryn Smith — 5 min read
Friday, January 20, 2023The best Spectrum-compatible routers for 2023
Camryn Smith — 5 min read