NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Internet Use Among Blacks And Whites

October 24, 2000

Blacks are more likely than whites to seek information on the Internet, while whites are more apt to be shopping, says a new study that indicates the racial divide in Internet use is closing.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 7.5 million blacks, or 36 percent of the total, are online, and more than 3.5 million of those adult users have gone online in the past year.

  • In 1998, 23 percent of blacks were online.
  • The online population of blacks doubled in the last year, and among those without Internet access, more blacks than whites -- 46 percent vs. 40 percent -- say they plan to go online.
  • The Pew study contradicts a report issued last week by the Commerce Department that claimed the access gap was widening.

The study found some racial differences in the rates of web use. For instance,

  • Online whites are more than twice as likely as online blacks to have participated in Web auctions and are more likely to make a purchase.
  • But whites and blacks are equally likely to have banked online, made a travel reservation, and bought and sold stocks.
  • Blacks are somewhat more likely than whites -- 18 percent versus 12 percent -- to have Internet access exclusively through their jobs.
  • While Among white users, there is an even split between the sexes, women make up 56 percent of the black online population.

Source: Karen Thomas, "Blacks post Net gains The spirit moves many to seek info, while whites shop," USA Today, October 23, 2000.


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