The digital divide is directly linked to inequality, and has a clear impact on Philadelphians’ ability to increase economic, educational, and social outcomes.
While the modern economy has benefited greatly from widespread digitization, broadband adoption remains low among marginalized groups: only 46.8% of households with annual incomes under $20,000, and 54.1% of those without a high school diploma had broadband subscriptions in 2014. Lower adoption rates were also seen among those who were not in the labor force (69.7%) and those who were 65 years or older (64.5%). These national trends mirror Philadelphia: the Pew Research Center found that 46% of seniors 65+ and 27% of low-income city residents do not have access in the city.
In 2017, any strategic effort or approach to reducing unemployment rates, increasing education levels and improving standards of living, must include technology to be effective in achieving positive outcomes. Across the nation, approximately 70% of teachers assign homework requiring access to the Internet and more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies require online job applications. A study conducted by the Internet Innovation Alliance in 2016 found that households with internet access can also see annual savings of up to $11,218.98 for housing, transportation, insurance, entertainment and apparel purchases:
KEYSPOT: Combating the Digital Divide
KEYSPOT sites across Philadelphia work every day to help clients access critical internet services, and teach them to become self-sufficient. KEYSPOT recently created a strategic plan to help us create a roadmap to helping eradicate the digital divide in Philadelphia. To explore the the plan and learn more, click here.