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The Digital Divide

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

While having a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, and a fast internet connection at home is considered essential and often taken for granted by millions of Americans, it’s important to note that many lower-income households cannot afford the luxury of owning multiple devices to essentially do the same job.

And with today’s smartphones more than capable of handling the workload that most average users put on their PCs, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the ultimate one-for-all device has the highest adoption rate among lower-income households. Because not only can smartphone users get on without a laptop, let alone a tablet, but they can also save their monthly broadband bill by relying on their mobile internet connection.

According to a recent analysis from the Pew Research Center, 27 percent of U.S. adults with annual household incomes below $30,000 said that they have a smartphone but no home broadband, up from just 12 percent in 2013. The fact that just 11 percent of middle-income and 6 percent of high-income households said the same, indicates that financial reasons play a part in this.

As the following chart shows, there’s a clear divide when it comes to technology adoption and household income, with smartphones showing the smallest income-adoption gap.

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