The Digital Divide in the United States: An Infographic


Oftentimes, many people hear the phrase “digital divide” and envision the differences in technological access between those in the developing world vs. those in the developed world.  However, a digital divide exists within our own nation, and spans over various subjects.

  • Infrastructure and Geographic Region: according to the infographic, approx. 100,000,000 U.S. homes do not have access to broadband.  This lack of broadband is mostly in rural areas, where they lack the infrastructure, such as towers, to bring them access.
  • Race: According to the above picture, race plays a huge role in the access to technology.  For instance, whites dominate internet access, while minorities have less access to the internet by approx. 20%.
  • Income: Unsurprisingly, more wealthy households (with higher incomes), have greater access to the internet, while poorer households (with lower incomes), have less access to the internet.

What is most surprising in this image, however, is not only what it reveals about the digital divide within the United States, but also what it reveals about the U.S. in relation to other nations.

  • Higher Costs: In relation to other countries, the United States ends up paying more money for the same, or similar products.  For example, FIOS in the United States costs 6X as much as fiber optic in Hong Kong. This is often caused by a lack of competition (96% of Americans have access to two or less providers) leading to fewer options for consumers and higher prices.
  • Internet Access: In relation to other countries around the world, the United States ranks 12th in internet access.



4 responses to “The Digital Divide in the United States: An Infographic

  • margaretvariano

    This is a very interesting graphic you found. While we have all read about facts like these, something about seeing them in picture-form makes the digital divide seem much more drastic. While it is no surprise to me that costs are much higher in the United States than other countries, it still shocked me a little to see how big of a difference it is from the US to South Korea. It was also a little shocking to think about this dramatic level of disparity in our own country, when we commonly like to compare the United States as one entity versus other countries.

  • ahamilton92

    I found it interesting that the internet is responsible for such a large portion of the US’s economic growth. I think it would be interesting to find out how the internet created this growth and see if the process could be replicated in developing countries.

  • npham2

    I am not too surprise that the internet is responsible for such a large portion of the US’s economic growth. There are many business ventures that are starting online with online shops, while giants like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, etc with online websites for people to buy products and learn about products. Plus, it’s international so anyone in the world can do businesses with the US over the internet.

  • nbroad

    I found your graphic to be really fascinating and it opened my eyes to the extent of the digital divide that exists right here at home. With the way that the internet and smartphones have exploded over the last decade, it is hard to imagine many people still living in the US without internet access. The fact that the United States is 12th in the world in home internet access was very surprising, as well as the overwhelmingly high costs users must pay. While much of the talk surrounds fixing the digital divide in lesser developed nations across the world, this graphic shows that we still have a long way to go here in the US to make sure that the poorest subset of the population has the ability to access the internet.

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