OVERVIEW

Facts and Stats

According to the Pew Research Center, 44% of adults in households with incomes below $30,000 do not have access to any Internet connectivity – including from a smartphone. This number rises precipitously as household income drops and access becomes less a question of affordability and more of the availability of infrastructure to serve predominantly low-income communities.

While economic development and population growth are stunted by the lack of broadband, nothing harms the viability of a community as much as the digital divide among children. The digital divide represents an additional education and success gap that children, especially those from low-income households, face when they do not have broadband in the home. The COVID-19 crisis has turned the digital divide into a more pressing crisis as children without broadband will be increasingly disadvantaged academically than when school was held in a traditional manner.

Data Research

The Hard Facts

162.8 Million

The number of Americans Microsoft estimates that do no have broadband speed access to the internet. [New York Times, Dec. 4, 2018]

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4 in 10 Adults

Those without home broadband services (44%) or a traditional computer (46%). Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (29%) don’t own a smartphone. [Pew Research, May 7, 2019]

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Homework Gap

Pre-Covid, 70% of teachers gave homework requiring internet access. 42% of students believe they received lower grades directly attributed to lack of broadband access. [National Education Association, April 20, 2016]

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Economic Benefits of Broadband

It is estimated that for every dollar invested in providing access to broadband returns nearly $4 to the economy. [Purdue University, August 27, 2018]

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Educational Achievement Gaps

If the United States closed the educational achievement gaps for children of all races and nationalities, the U.S. economy would be 5.8 percent—or nearly $2.3 trillion—larger in 2050. [Center for American Progress, November 10, 2014]

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