FACT SHEET: Education: Boosting the Odds for Internet Use
FALLING THROUGH THE NET: DEFINING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE, July 1999
This report on the telecommunications and information technology gap in America provides comprehensive data on the level of access by Americans to telephones, computers, and the Internet. It includes valuable information about where Americans are gaining access, what they are doing with their online connections, and provides trendline information since 1984. According to the report, the number of Americans accessing the Internet has grown rapidly in the last year; yet, in the midst of this general expansion, the "digital divide" between information "haves" and "have nots" continues to widen.
The level of education plays a key role in determining a person or household's likelihood of owning a computer or using the Internet. Those with college degrees are highly likely to have Internet access from home or work. Meanwhile, the divide in Internet access between the most and least educated widened between 1997 and 1998. The divide is most pronounced in rural areas, where those who are less educated are even less likely to connect to the Internet from home.
Though the Internet is consistently touted as the newest educational tool with the potential to narrow demographic disparities, the data shows that only those who have already attained educational success are using the Internet in large numbers. Consequently, Americans with less education, who could perhaps benefit most from the Internet's educational value, are being left behind.
Note: Press Contact: For Report Details, contact: Mary Hanley, (202) 482-2075 Kelly Levy, (202) 482-1880 www.ntia.doc.gov