Study: Gap Narrows Between Black and White Broadband Users

The National Urban League Policy Institute says greater broadband engagement among Blacks can lead to increased job opportunities.

Posted: 05/03/2012 02:33 PM EDT

The results of a new report by the National Urban League Policy Institute show that the gap between Black and white broadband users was cut by nearly half from 2009 to 2010.

The findings are optimistic overall, but the study suggests that further increases in African-American broadband engagement coupled with more African-Americans in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) would help the Black community get the best out of what digital technology has to offer: increased job opportunities and competitiveness.

"Broadband access to technology is an essentiality of American life in the 21st century. It is no longer a nicety, it is now a necessity," said National Urban League President Marc Morial, according to NY1.

The Connecting the Dots: Linking Broadband Adoption to Job Creation and Job Competitiveness report by the National Urban League Policy Institute in partnership with Time Warner Cable found a correlation between education level and Internet usage. In 2009 and 2010, 38 percent of African-Americans who did not complete high school had regular Internet use, while 94 percent of African-Americans with a college degree use the Internet regularly, the report says.

The study advocates for innovative solutions to close the remaining racial gap and to find ways to engage African–Americans. The authors suggested targeted programs such as job-training in broadband businesses, more support for Black students to improve college graduation rates and introducing concepts related to using broadband technology to children earlier in life.

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(Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)