The Persisting Racial Divide in Broadband Internet Access in the Home: Implications for Access to Higher Education

The Internet is the information superhighway for those seeking employment, social connections, and higher education. Online distance education has become an important aspect of American higher education. And for college-bound students, the Internet provides a wealth of information to help them make the correct decisions on where they should apply.

But new data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows a persistent racial divide in broadband Internet access in the home. In 2009, 68 percent of white households had high-speed Internet connections compared to only 49 percent of black households. Even when we compare high-income households with parents who are college-educated, there is still a 10 percentage point racial gap in broadband Internet access.

This persisting racial divide places blacks at a disadvantage to whites in navigating the online world of higher education.