Digital gap between rural and nonrural America persists

Author: Andrew Perrin
Coverage Type: research
Pew Research Center, 1615 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

Rural Americans have made large gains in adopting digital technology in recent years, but they remain less likely than nonrural adults to have home broadband, smartphones and other devices. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of rural Americans say they have a broadband internet connection at home, up from about a third (35%) in 2007, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2016. Rural Americans are now 10 percentage points less likely than Americans overall to have home broadband; in 2007, there was a 16-point gap between rural Americans (35%) and all U.S. adults (51%) on this question.

Rural residents also go online less frequently than their urban and suburban counterparts. Roughly six-in-ten adults (58%) who live in rural communities say they use the internet on at least a daily basis, compared with more than three-quarters of those in urban (80%) or suburban (76%) areas. Meanwhile, roughly one-in-five rural adults (19%) say they never go online, compared with 11% of those who live in urban communities and 10% of those who live in the suburbs.



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