A man holds a Samsung S II (R) and Samsung Ace (L) smartphones next to an Apple iPhone 4 in Houten in this photo illustration August 24, 2011. (Photo : REUTERS)
According to a new study, the digital divide between Latinos and Caucasians have shrunk significantly. The Pew Hispanic Center has released the results of a survey that reveals that, while more Caucasians still use the Internet at least occasionally (87 percent in 2012), Latinos using the Internet occasionally has jumped to 78 percent, up 14 percent from 2009 to 2012.
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There are many reasons for this dwindling of the digital divide. Part of the reason is that Latinos, though less likely to own computers or laptops (72 percent of Latinos own a computer,compared to 83 percent of Caucasians), are shown to have higher numbers than Caucasians for smartphone ownership. This allows greater access to the Internet, social media, and other forms of digital media, even if they do not have a computer in the home.
Another factor is that the Latino market for Internet and smartphone usage has grown, while the same market for Caucasians has become stagnant. Senior researcher for the Pew Research Center Aaron Smith had this to say on the phenomenon.
"At a certain level, you do reach a point where low-hanging fruits have been converted, and what's left are people who may have more challenges in terms of digital literacy or a lack of interest.."
Latinos have overtaken Caucasians in cell phone usage, 86 to 84 percent, as Caucasian cell phone use was shown to actually have decreased.
Age is another factor when determining the falling digital divide between the races. As the country continues to age, Latinos have become the fastest growing minority in the country. Add this to the shrinking, ageing Caucasians population, and it leads to the digital divide shifting rapidly.