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Digital Divide Is Narrowing for Latinos: Report

by Brian Latimer /  / Updated 
Image: Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany
People type on older model Apple iPhones as they wait to enter the Apple Store at 8am on the first day of sales of the new Apple iPhone 6 in Germany on September 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds of people had waited in a line that went around the block through the night in order to be among the first people to buy the new smartphone, which comes in two versions: the Apple iPhone 6 and the somewhat larger Apple iPhone 6 Plus. Sean Gallup / Getty Images file

While the digital divide is narrowing for many Americans, Latinos — both English and Spanish speaking — have seen the greatest increase in internet and technology access in the last few years.

Since 2009, Hispanics with internet access climbed from 64 to 84 percent by 2015, according to a new Pew Hispanic report released Wednesday.

Among Spanish-speaking adults, 36 percent used the internet in 2009, but that number more than doubled to 74 percent in 2015.

Digital divide is narrowing for Latinos as more Hispanics and and immigrants go online
Digital divide is narrowing for Latinos as more Hispanics and and immigrants go onlinePew Research Center

"Big gains in internet use made by immigrant Hispanics and Spanish-dominant Hispanics, two closely linked groups, have been the main drivers in closing this gap," the reportreads. "Both groups have long had among the lowest internet use rates among Hispanics – and that is still the case today."

Latinos have lagged behind other groups in internet access. Yet they have been among "the most likely to own a smartphone, to live in a household without a landline phone where only a cellphone is available and to access the internet from a mobile device," states the report.

As of 2015, 94 percent of Hispanics who speak mostly English have internet access, up from 87 percent in 2009.

What has not changed much since 2010 is the share of Hispanic adults who access the internet through a home broadband connection; it's gone from 45 percent in 2010 to 46 percent in 2015.

RELATED: Antonio Tijerino Wants Hispanics' Heritage to Include Shrunken Digital Divide

About eight-in-10 Latino adults access the Internet through mobile devices by using a cell phone, smart phone or tablet. For young Latinos ages 18 to 29, 94 percent access the internet with mobile devices. For Latinos 65 and older, about 35 percent use mobile devices for Internet access.

Over three-quarters of Latinos that make less than $30,000 a year have or use a mobile device with Internet connectivity. Although not all Latino adults own their own personal mobile device, 94 percent say they have access to one to use.

White Americans, Black Americans and all Latino groups saw increases in technology access. In 2009, 80 percent of White Americans had some way of accessing the internet, and in 2015 that number reached 89 percent. Black Americans saw a 12 point increase in the same time frame.

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