The Persisting Racial Digital Divide

In the early days of the computer revolution, the racial digital divide was huge. Due to the high cost of computers, software, and other technology equipment, blacks were slow to join the digital age.

Great progress has been made. But a significant digital divide remains. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2009, 85.3 percent of all whites over the age of 3 used the Internet. For blacks, the figure was 73.6 percent.

For those who used the Internet, 92.9 percent of whites had Internet access at home, whereas only 81.0 percent of blacks had home Internet access.

For those with Internet access at home, whites are slightly more likely than whites to have broadband services allowing for faster and more efficient use of the Web.

College-bound students with Internet access in the home can use the vast resources of the Web to find the college that best suits their needs. They can access practice tests for the SAT or ACT college entrance admission examinations. They can seek out college scholarships through the great number of databases that are maintained online. They can apply to colleges on the Internet, saving themselves time and money. And perhaps most important, as the Internet is a huge online library at one's fingertips, it can be used to enhance learning that will better prepare a student for the rigors of a college education.
Thus, any racial disparity in access to the Internet is extremely important.