Friday, August 14, 2009

No internet for many

Chicago’s digital divide — the disproportionate lack of internet access, usage and know-how in largely minority and low-income neighborhoods — remains a thorn in many city neighborhoods: nearly 40 percent of Chicagoans have little or no access to the internet. And 25 percent of the city is completely offline.

That data is according to a city-commissioned report released last month by University of Illinois-Chicago public administration professor Karen Mossberger and Caroline Tolbert of the University of Iowa.

The primary factors identified in keeping people offline were lack of interest, difficulty of use and cost. The report also suggests that language barriers and lack of familiarity with the internet that many immigrants must contend with are the primary reasons Latinos are less likely to seek out and take advantage of internet use, inside or out of the home.

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