WASHINGTON - Latinos are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone, according to survey findings from the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Latinos lag behind blacks in home broadband access but have similar rates of internet and cell phone use.
While about two-thirds of Latino (65%) and black (66%) adults went online in 2010, more than three-fourths (77%) of white adults did so. In terms of broadband use at home, fewer than half (45%) of Latinos have it, while two-thirds (65%) of whites and more than half of blacks (52%) have home broadband access. Fully 85% of whites owned a cell phone in 2010, compared with 76% of Latinos and 79% of blacks.
Hispanics, on average, have lower levels of education and earn less than whites. Controlling for these factors, the differences in internet use, home broadband access and cell phone use between Hispanics and whites disappear. In other words, Hispanics and whites who have similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies.
Survey questions also probed for the use of non-voice applications on cell phones. Respondents were asked specifically about whether they access the internet and whether they use email, texting or instant messaging from a cell phone. The findings reveal a mixed pattern of non-voice cell phone application use across ethnic and racial groups. Hispanics are less likely than whites to use any non-voice applications on a cell phone (58% vs. 64). But when the sample is limited to cell phone owners, there are no differences between Hispanics, whites or blacks in the likelihood of using non-voice data applications (77% of Hispanics, 75% of whites and 79% of blacks do so).
Though they are no more likely than whites to access the internet from a cell phone, Hispanics are more likely to do so in lieu of a home internet connection. Some 6% of Latinos report that they access the internet from a cell phone but have no internet access at home. This rate is the same for blacks, but notably higher than the rate for whites (1%).
This report is based on two national surveys. The first, the Pew Hispanic Center's 2010 National Survey of Latinos, is a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey of 1,375 adults ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted from August 17 through September 19, 2010. The second, the Pew Internet and American Life Project's August 2010 Health Tracking Survey, is a national representative telephone survey of 3,001 adults, conducted from August 9 through September 13, 2010.
The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.