The Large Racial Gap in Home Internet Access in the Rural South

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A new study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., finds that in the Black rural South, 38 percent of African Americans report that they lack home internet access. By comparison, 23 percent of White Americans in the Black rural South, 22 percent of African Americans nationwide, 22 percent of rural residents outside of the South, and 18 percent of all Americans nationwide report that they lack home internet access. In the Black rural South, 25.8 percent of residents lack the option to subscribe to high-speed broadband compared to 8.8 percent of non-southern rural residents and 3.8 percent of all Americans. An even larger percentage of Black rural South households do not use broadband. Even where broadband is available in the Black rural South, many find it unaffordable. The Pew Research Center estimates that U.S. households with incomes less than $35,000 are much less likely to have broadband, and they account for 28.6 percent of all households nationwide but 60.8 percent of Black households in the Black rural South. The report states that “expanding broadband in the Black rural South can increase incomes, employment, workforce skills, and educational and health care opportunities, and help Black...

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