Digital divide persists in Minneapolis

March 6, 2016 - 2 minutes read

The Star Tribune uses ACS data on Internet access and usage to dig into digital disparities between Minneapolis neighborhoods. The story also includes an interactive map readers can use to analyze data on Internet access and usage by neighborhood in Minneapolis and see how the numbers have changed between 2012 and 2014.

While the Star Tribune’s analysis reveals a persistent divide between low-income minority neighborhoods and wealthier areas of the city, it also shows that Minneapolis is a leader in providing high-speed Internet access.

Compared to other parts of the country, however, Minneapolis is doing pretty well. The Twin Cities’ has one of the highest Internet access rates among metro areas in the U.S.  Only about  17 percent of households don’t have high-speed Internet-connected computers at home, according to the 2014 American Community Survey. The national average is 25 percent. (San Jose, Calif., has the lowest rate in the nation at 11 percent.)

However, access is not the only barrier. Many households might be able to access the Internet via a cellphone, but that might still leave users unable to complete more sophisticated tasks according to Jennifer Nelson, director of State Library Services with the Minnesota Department of Education.

And cellphones might not be good enough for the various tasks involved with applying for jobs, such as uploading a resume, Nelson says. About one-third of survey respondents who said they were unemployed reported not having a home Internet connection.

Read the full story and dig through the data here.