Social access to the internet

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143 Scopus citations


The relative costs and expertise associated with using the Internet, labeled technological and social access, have led to a concern about the rise of a "digital divide" between information haves and have-nots. To address whether and to what extent the Internet has become a medium of the masses and to identify the factors associated with social access to the Internet, I examine Internet use data from two statewide surveys, the Carolina Poll and the Indiana Poll, conducted during spring 1998. Multivariate analysis reveals that income, education, age, and family structure are important social determinants of on-line access and that Internet use is lowest among single mothers, members of lower socioeconomic groups, and older respondents. Although the online population is beginning to diversify, the Internet cannot yet claim a committed, nonelite mass audience. It is argued that the disparities in Internet use portend a looming information gap between those with access and those without.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalHarvard International Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


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