A gap in broadband access between low-income Americans and the wealthy, as well as lower penetration in African-American households, persists. This, as greater adoption in the overall American population has increased.

It’s another case where the rich get richer; here, that takes the form of people with broadband deepening their online relationships and activities, which those without broadband slide further behind the 24×7 online world. In fact, many of those with broadband have shown demand (that is, they’re paying for) premium services like fiber-to-the-home.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project continues their important research into the impact of the Internet in our lives. Their report, Home Broadband Adoption 2008,

It’s not all bad news, however, according to Pew. Some of the encouraging findings are that:
  • For older Americans 50 and over, adoption of broadband has increased such that 50% of those 50-64 now have broadband. 19% of the 65+ population has broadband at home.
  • For lower-middle income Americans, there is also positive signs of growth in broadband adoption. Nearly one-half of households with $20,000 and $40,000 a year have broadband.
  • There is also growth in rural American, with 38% of rural households now using broadband at home — a 23% increase over 2007.
The author of the study, John Horrigan, surmises that the bad economy has hard-hit lower-income households. The survey was conducted in April and May 2008.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: There is growing evidence that broadband access can enhance health in the home, such as the findings in this study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Access to the Internet, and especially via broadband which enhances the experience for search, video and other applications, can support peoples’ personal health missions and engagement.

Check out Internet for Everyone, an organization that’s lobbying for universal access…to broadband. Here’s another example of a gap that, if we can close it, we can help enhance health outcomes.