78 percent of Americans have access to high-speed broadband

Reinforcing earlier statistics, a new report from  the U.S. Census Bureau reaffirms that although a high majority (78.1 percent) of Americans have access to high-speed Internet, many are still left out.

The report, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013, uses data from the bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey (ACS). It was a comprehensive study which “includes analysis of household computer ownership and Internet use by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, income and education. It covers areas of the country with populations larger than 65,000.”

The Census Bureau notes:

“Although most Americans have access to computers and high-speed Internet, differences in high-speed Internet use were as large as 25 percentage points between certain age and race groups, while divides between specific income and educational attainment groups were as large as 45 percentage points.”

In general, high-speed access is more common in metropolitan areas than in rural ones. As the report notes, “Overall, 31 metropolitan areas had rates of computer ownership above the national average by at least 5 percentage points.” However, as Speed Matters reported last week (which also used the ACS), there is a significant spread among different cities.

That is where the new report is different. As the report’s author, sociologist Thom File, said, “In the past we’ve only been able to look at computer and Internet use patterns down to the state level, but with this new research we can actually start to understand what’s happening in American cities.”

For instance, “... among the nation’s metro areas, Boulder, Colo., had one of the highest rates of high-speed Internet use at 96.9, while Laredo, Texas, had one of the lowest rates at 69.3 percent.”

In addition, the report reinforces earlier racial and income trends.

Among non-Hispanic white households, Internet use is 77.4 percent; non-Hispanic blacks, 61.3; Hispanic (any race) 66.7; Asian 86.6 percent.

Internet use among households making $150,000 or more is 95 percent. At the same time, in households with annual incomes of $25,000 or less, that percentage drops to about half that – 48.4 percent.

You can view the entire report by clicking here.

Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013 (American Community Survey Reports, U.S. Census Bureau, Nov. 2014)

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans Have Access to High-Speed Internet (U.S. Census Bureau news release, Nov. 13, 2014)

In some cities, many go without Internet entirely (Speed Matters, Nov. 8, 2014)