What is the state of at-home computer and broadband adoption in Chicago? We analyzed the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data so we can begin to understand the state of digital inclusion in Chicago:
The information above points to some staggering truths about information access in our city. Over 220,ooo households (about 1 in 5) still do not have access to the Internet in 2015, whether because of the monthly cost, skill barriers, or relevancy barriers. In 2015, some Chicago households were smart phone-dependent — a situation that no doubt makes activities like applying for jobs or completing homework quite difficult. Also, seniors, minority populations, and residents with lower educational attainment are more likely to be a the wrong side of this divide.
Recently, the City of Chicago wrote comments to the federal government regarding a new Broadband Research Agenda. The City recommended how federal data sources and agencies can make it easier for municipalities to evaluate their connectivity issues on the neighborhood level and make smarter investments to diagnose and fill local gaps. This work is essential, given the fact that we know that city-level averages from the ACS for computer ownership and household Internet access are not enough to shine light on gaps and divides within Chicago.
Over the next several months we will release more writing and research on the state of digital inclusion in Chicago. You can follow our work on this blog and on the Smart Chicago Twitter account. You can also join our community of digital inclusion practitioners and advocates at Connect Chicago Meetups. Our next Meetup will be on Friday, October 28, 2016 at the Chicago Community Trust. You can get more details on the event and RSVP here.
Note: You can see an older version of the infographic above in this blog post.