Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rural areas have closed digital gap, but still trail urban areas in technology, Pew survey says

More rural Americans are adopting digital technology, but they still lag behind their urban counterparts in using broadband, smartphones and other devices, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in the fall of 2016. Researchers found that 63 percent of rural residents have broadband at home, up from 35 percent in 2007, Andrew Perrin reports for Pew. That's still 10 percentage points less than all U.S. adults. It was 16 points in 2007. (Pew graphics)
"Despite recent gains in digital technology adoption, rural adults remain less likely than urban and suburban adults to have and use these technologies," Perrin writes. "For example, rural Americans are 7 to 12 percentage points less likely than those in urban and suburban areas to say they have a smartphone, traditional computer or tablet computer."

Rural adults also are less likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online, Perrin writes. Researchers found that 29 percent of rural adults "report that they own a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone, a home broadband connection and a tablet computer," compared to 40 percent of urban adults and 42 percent of suburban adults who own all four devices.

"Rural residents also go online less frequently than their urban and suburban counterparts," Perrin notes. A total of 58 percent of rural respondents say they use the internet on at least a daily basis, compared with 80 percent in urban areas and 76 percent in suburban areas. Also, 19 percent of rural adults say they never go online, compared with 11 percent in urban communities and 10 percent in the suburbs.

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