Title

Going online without easy access: A tale of three cities

Publication Title

Journal of Urban Affairs

Publication Date

12-2008

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1111/J.1467-9906.2008.00414.X

Disciplines

Communication Technology and New Media | Educational Sociology | Inequality and Stratification

Abstract

Building on a national study that showed that concentrated poverty matters for the “digital divide,” this research compares the influence of the neighborhood-level context in three cities that vary in racial composition and income. We use a 2005 random digit-dialed survey of respondents in Northeast Ohio communities, and find unexpectedly that residents in areas of concentrated poverty demonstrate efforts to go online despite lacking home or work access. We analyze the results using regression models that include contextual “buffers” that create a unique geography for each respondent within a half-kilometer radius. Respondents who live in areas with a high percentage of African Americans or college graduates are more likely to go online even if they lack convenient Internet access, although the percentage of college graduates has a greater effect. At the neighborhood level, race and education influence the context for technology use.

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