Online Habits of African-Americans Set Them Apart

African-Americans constitute the largest ethnic minority group online with 4.9 million users, according to research by Cyber Dialogue. The American Internet User Survey (AIUS) by Cyber Dialogue found that 28 percent of US adult African-Americans are online, as well as 28 percent of adult Hispanics.

The digital divide between whites and ethnic minorities in the US remains, the research found. Only 31 percent of the total adult ethnic minority population is online, compared to 37 percent of the total adult white population. Online African-Americans are younger, wealthier, and more educated than their counterparts who remain offline.

Nearly 49 percent of online adult African-Americans are under the age of 30, compared to 23 percent of offline adults. The average income of online African-Americans is $58,300 and 18 percent have incomes of $75,000 or more, compared to only 1 percent of African-Americans who do not use the Internet. More than one-third of those online have graduated from college, while less than 10 percent of non-users are college graduates.

Similar to the general online population, African-American users are most likely to use news and travel content, but this group is much more likely than the general online population to use entertainment (music and gaming, in particular), content, parenting, and job search sites. African-Americans who are online also exhibit shopping habits markedly different from the rest of the Internet population. In particular, online African-Americans are intensive Internet music shoppers, and are much more likely than the general online population to make music purchases online. In several retailing categories, African-Americans making transactions online are behind the total online population, however, particularly in the travel and clothing sectors.

“While we found that online African-Americans are more likely to state they intend to begin making online purchases than the total online adult population, the same group also expressed a higher degree of concern regarding security and privacy than the total online population,” said Idil Cakim, a Cyber Dialogue analyst. “These kinds of results reinforce the importance of recognizing how topics such as security and privacy can greatly impact the number of online transactions a site completes.”

Other findings from Cyber Dialogue’s research include:

  • Online African-Americans are more likely than others to go online from academic and public locations
  • Online African-Americans are disproportionately more likely to register on Web sites than the total user population
  • Non-users among African-Americans are more likely than the typical non-user to be interested in learning more about the Internet

Cyber Dialogue’s AIUS consists of in-depth interviews with 1,000 Internet users and 1,000 non-users.

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