Internet access lagging in Kentucky, report finds - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Internet access lagging in Kentucky, report finds

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – About one in four Kentuckians lives in a household with no access to the Internet, and the state still lags behind the national average for residents who regularly go online.

Those findings, released this week as part of the U.S. Census Bureau's annual survey of computer and Internet use, show that Kentucky has made small strides in recent years in getting more people online.

Indiana, meanwhile, moved above the national average for Internet access.

The data comes from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey, which includes 50,000 households in the United States and has been asking questions about computer usage since 1984. It includes state and national statistics, but starting this fall a separate Census survey plans to begin gathering information on Internet use for smaller areas such as cities and counties.

The recent data shows:

About 72 percent of all Kentuckians above 3 years old accessed the Internet in 2012, up from about 59 percent five years ago. Despite those gains, Kentucky still trailed the national average of nearly 75 percent. In Indiana, 76 percent of residents above age 3 went online in 2012.

About 74 percent of Kentucky residents had Internet access at home, up from 61 percent in 2007. Nearly 78 percent of Hoosiers lived in a household with online access, up from 66 percent five years ago. The national average is 79 percent.

The national data also reveals that smartphones have helped bridge the so-called "digital divide" among members of different racial and ethnic groups.

For example, Asians reported the highest smartphone use among people 25 and older, at 53 percent, followed by Hispanics (46 percent), blacks (45 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (45 percent).

The gap widens, however, among all people in those age groups who use the Internet – regardless of whether it's accessed on a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or other device. Asians had the highest rate of Internet use (83 percent), followed by non-Hispanic whites (80 percent), blacks (68 percent) and Hispanics (64 percent).

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