Rural Poor Among Least Connected

According to 1997 data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the following are profiles of groups that are among the “least connected” in the United States.

Rural Poor – Those living in rural areas at the lowest income levels are among the least connected. Rural households earning less than $5,000 per year have the lowest PC-ownership rates (7.9 percent) and online access rates (2.3 percent), followed by urban areas (10.5 percent, 4.4 percent) and central cities (11 percent, 4.6 percent).

Rural and Central City Minorities – Blacks have the lowest PC-ownership rates in rural areas (14.9 percent), followed by Blacks and Hispanics in central cities (17.1 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively). Online access is also the lowest for Black households in rural areas (5.5 percent) and central cities (5.8 percent), followed by Hispanic households in central cities (7.0 percent) and rural areas (7.3 percent).

Young Households – Only 15.5 percent of young (below 25), rural, low-income households are likely to own a PC. Similarly, young households with children are also less likely to have PCs: those in central cities have the lowest rates (13.3 percent for PCs), followed by urban (14.5 percent for PCs) and rural locales (21.2 percent for PCs).

Female-Headed Households – Single-parent, female households are also significantly less likely than dual-parent households to have a PC (25 percent versus 57.2 percent) or to have online access (9.2 percent versus 29.4 percent). Female-headed households in central cities are particularly unlikely to own PCs or have online access (20.2 percent, 6.4 percent), compared to dual-parent households (52 percent, 27.3 percent) or even male-headed households (28 percent, 11.2 percent) in the same areas.

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