Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

More than 8 in 10 Philadelphians have Internet access: Pew report

More than eight in ten Philadelphians have Internet access, a number that's grown since 2011 in large part because of smart phones.

A man uses one of the computers at a city KEYSPOT center, November 2013.

(Courtesy photo)

More than eight in ten Philadelphians have Internet access, a number that’s grown since 2011 in large part because of smart phones, according to a recent Pew report.

In 2011, 76 percent of Philadelphians surveyed by Pew said they had access to the Internet. In 2013, that number grew to 82 percent.

To be clear, this is for individuals, not households, where we reported last year fewer than half had at-home access, but still shows movement in the core issue of web connectivity.

Read the whole report here.

Though Pew didn’t ask the specific question of where Philadelphians get their Internet (in home access versus mobile phone access), Pew credits smart phones with the increase of that number for a few reasons, researcher Tom Ginsberg said:

  • a national trend of more and more people owning smart phones
  • two-thirds of Philadelphians that Pew surveyed in 2013 said they used their phones to access the Internet, up from about half in 2011

Pew’s analysis also figures into the early data that said that more than half of Philadelphia households did not have Internet access, as we reported in April 2012. While it’s not a perfect point of comparison, in Baltimore, mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently said that between 20 to 40 percent of the city’s roughly 620,000 residents don’t have access to Internet in their homes.

If the first step in the digital divide conversation was about connectivity, already the focus has moved toward literacy, the ability to leverage web access for personal development.

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