In January the Joan Ganz Cooney Center published a report titled Opportunity for All (PDF). This report discusses the results of a survey which the Center conducted last year right around the same time that Pew was finding out that 68% of Americans owned a smartphone, only the Joan Ganz Cooney Center came up with a very different answer.
Rather than survey all Americans, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center focused on Americans earning below $65,000, with a strong emphasis on those near or below the poverty line. Of the 1,191 survey subjects:
- 31% were families with incomes below the federal poverty level,
- 42% were between 100–185% of poverty, and
- 24% had incomes above 185% of poverty but below $65,000 a year
Remember on Sunday when I echoed an article which argued that the Open Books program might face problems with hardware limitations and internet access issues?
Well, this survey report suggests that the problems might not be as severe as we had thought. I’m still working my way through the report, but I thought the following chart might interest you:
You can find the chart on page ten of the report, and what it says is that 80% of the households in this survey had a smartphone, and 67% had a tablet.
Four out of five households had a computer, and 94% also had access to the internet. Yes, there are people who have internet access solely through their mobile device.
Most households (72%) had home internet access, but a strong minority (23%) were dependent on a mobile data plan (usually with a high cost and limited speed/capacity).
All of those stats are far higher than what the Pew Research Center reported based on their survey (don’t you just love conflicting survey reports). I can’t yet explain the difference.
While most low- and moderate-income families have some type of digital device and Internet access, the above data doesn’t tell the full story. Not all devices are created equal, and differing levels of internet access offer varying browsing experiences.
Over half of respondents reported that the internet ran to slowly, and a larger number (59%) made the same complaint about their computer. Nearly three in ten reported hitting the data limit on their mobile plan, and over a quarter said that they had trouble getting stuff done because too many people were sharing the computer. Twenty-one percent had a similar complaint about their smartphone, while a similar percentage reported having their home internet access or cellphone turned off due to lack of payment (20%, 24%).
You can find more details in the report (PDF), and on the Joan Ganz Cooney Center website.
image by Steve Parker