Thursday, October 06, 2016

Researcher measures digital divide by county; the top 10 'have-not' counties are all rural

Roberto Gallardo, an associate extension professor in the Center for Technology Outreach at Mississippi State University, has created a tool called the Digital Divide Index (DDI) that uses county-level data to determine the largest digital divides in America. DDI, which uses 2014 data but will be updated regularly, combines two measures: infrastructure/adoption and socioeconomic characteristics, to score counties between 0 to 100, with a higher number denoting a larger digital divide, Gallardo writes for the Daily Yonder. (MSU map: Digital divide when taking into account infrastructure/adoption)
Infrastructure/adoption "groups three variables related to broadband availability/adoption (INFA): percent population with no access to fixed broadband 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, number of residential broadband connections, and average advertised download and upload speeds," Gallardo writes. (MSU map: Digital divide when taking into account socioeconomic characteristics)
The socioeconomic-characteristics measure combines three characteristics associated with less adoption of technology: share of population 65+, share 25 and over with less than high-school education, and poverty rate. "The overall DDI score includes both broadband availability/adoption and socioeconomic characteristics," Gallardo writes.

The 10 counties that suffer the most from the digital divide are all rural, led by Humphreys County, Mississippi, which scored a 99.8. Following it are Perry County, Alabama; Issaquena County, Mississippi; La Paz County, Arizona; Presidio County, Texas; Quitman County, Mississippi; Knott County, Kentucky; Noxubee County, Mississippi; Hickory County, Missouri; and Woodruff County, Arkansas. (Read more)

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