A new report released Wednesday from the Pew Hispanic Center found that while Hispanics have much lower levels of home broadband use compared with whites, the gap narrows when it comes to cell phone use.
The report found that only 45 percent of Hispanics use broadband at home, compared with 65 percent of whites and 52 percent of blacks. While Hispanics and blacks had about the same levels of Internet use in 2010, about 65 percent, they still lagged behind whites, 77 percent of whom reported going online.
The technology gap narrows when it comes to cell phone use by Hispanics. Hispanics reported having the lowest levels of cell phone ownership at 76 percent, compared with 79 percent for blacks and 85 percent for whites.
The report suggests that the lower levels of technology use by Hispanics are linked to their income and education levels.
"Hispanics, on average, have lower levels of education and earn less than whites," according to the report. "Controlling for these factors, the differences in internet use, home broadband access and cell phone use between Hispanics and whites disappear."
The report found that Hispanics and whites both access the Internet using their cell phones at similar rates. Unlike most whites, Hispanics report using their cell phones to go online because they lack a home Internet connection. The survey found 6 percent of Hispanics who use their cell phones to access the Internet say they do not have Internet access at home, compared with only 1 percent for whites.
Overall, 41 percent of blacks reported using their cell phones to access the Internet compared with 31 percent of Hispanics and 29 percent for whites. "This ethnic difference in dependency upon a cell phone for internet use is partially, but not entirely, related to ethnic differences in educational attainment and income," according to the report.
When it comes to text messaging, Hispanics lag a little behind whites and blacks, 55 percent to 61 percent for both whites and blacks, the report found.
The survey of 3,001 adults was conducted Aug. 9-Sept. 13 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.