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Hispanic digital divide narrows

July 27, 2016 | By Rande Price, Research Director – DCN @Randeloo

The Hispanic population, now at 55 million, is one of the fastest and youngest growing groups in the U.S. today. As a key demographic, Hispanics have narrowed the digital divide with adult internet usage at 84%, up from 64% in 2009. While internet usage also grew among white adults (from 80% in 2009 to 89% in 2015) and black adults (from 72% to 81%); use among Hispanics grew at a much faster rate. In addition, the gap in internet usage between Hispanics and whites decreased to 8% from 16% in 2009 according to a Pew Research Center report, “Digital Divide Narrows for Latinos as More Spanish Speakers and Immigrants Go Online.”

chart 1 latinosIt’s not just the English-dominant Hispanics (94%) who are online but also bilingual Hispanics (86%) have internet access, up from 87% and 76%, respectively in 2009. Further three-quarters of Spanish-dominant Hispanics (76%) are also internet users and registered the most growth from 36% in 2009. Interestingly, most of the change in Hispanic internet use took place in the last three years among foreign born Hispanics.

Not surprisingly, younger Hispanics are more likely to be online than older adults. Nine in 10 of Hispanic adults 18-29 (95%) and Hispanic adults 30-49 (93%) are more likely to be online than older Hispanic, ages 50-64 (67%) and ages 65+ (42%).

Mobile access is the majority of Hispanics connect to the internet. Eighty percent of Hispanic adults reported using a mobile device, cellphone, smartphone or tablet, to access the internet. A full nine in 10 of younger Hispanic adults, ages 18-29 (94%) use their mobile device for internet access.

In terms of connecting at home, half of Hispanics adults (46%) reported that they use a broadband connection to access the internet. Surprisingly, while internet usage among Hispanic has increased, broadband access has shown little growth since 2010 when it was at 45%.

The fact that the Hispanic digital divide is closing is an important factor for companies to think about when exploring marketing tactics to target this key demographic group. The Hispanic audience is a fully engaged digital audience and often attracted by the social offerings of digital technology. Now more than ever before there is an opportunity to reach a full Hispanic audience across digital platforms.

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