The Racial Digital Divide Narrows in Schools But Remains a Chasm in the Home

A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that black and white children now have about equal access to computers in the classroom. But significant racial disparities remain in students’ computer use at home as well as in overall access to the Internet. This persisting racial digital divide in the home makes it more difficult for black students to satisfactorily complete high school and prepare for college.

Here is the latest data:

Eighty-six percent of black children in grades K-12 use computers. For whites, the figure is slightly higher at 93 percent. The computer gap is almost nonexistent in schools with blacks and whites using computers at nearly the same rate. But there is still a large gap in computer usage in the home. The data shows that 78 percent of white schoolchildren use a computer at home compared to only 46 percent of black children.

A second digital divide has developed in Internet use. The study found that 67 percent of white schoolchildren use the Internet either at home or in school. But only 47 percent of blacks in grades K-12 use the Internet. Only 27 percent of blacks in grades K-12 use the Internet at home compared to 54 percent of whites.