Latinos are not going online as much as non-Hispanic whites and blacks, even at younger ages where Internet use is far greater, according to a report released Wednesday.
Fifty-six percent of adult Latinos use the Internet, compared with 70 percent of whites and about 60 percent of blacks, according to the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The Internet use of U.S.-born Latinos is comparable to that of whites, but about two-thirds of adult Latinos in the United States were born elsewhere.
The study found that only one in three Spanish-dominant Latinos use the Internet. Latinos online tend to be primarily English speakers or bilingual and have graduated from college and high school.
"There hasn't been as much attention paid to offline populations as the Internet has become almost de facto in the United States. People assume you are online and that's not the case for everyone," said Susannah Fox, one of the study's authors.
Although the study found that fewer than a third of Latino adults have broadband access, more than half have a cell phone and most of them send and receive text messages.
The findings present some challenges for policy makers.
"Hispanic Americans will not be able to fully pursue educational and economic opportunities if they do not enjoy access to all that is available online: job listings, loan applications, health information and academic research," said Rep. Joe Baca, a California Democrat who is chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The study is based on two telephone surveys involving 6,016 Latinos combined last year. The merged survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.