Note: this entry is part of a series called "The Making of College Bound". Click here to read the series-to-date.
Last month I wrote about the four ways in which our new beta program, College Bound, brings parents onto the team to support their children’s educational success. Today, I want to share a little bit more about the College Bound audience and how we know we can use the Internet to engage them in ways that were unlikely just a few years ago.
College Bound is valuable for every parent; however, those who will benefit the most from it are often the hardest to reach. There are many local, community-based parent training solutions out there doing excellent work. But College Bound takes a different approach. We're using online learning and social media to engage parents — and that includes parents you might not expect to have easy access to the Web.
The digital divide is narrowing quickly. Just a few years ago, broadband Internet access was fairly limited. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, the digital landscape has become a lot more diverse much faster than many anticipated. What's driving the changes? Increased use of handheld mobile devices and increased accessibility of high-speed Internet access.
Since 2007, mobile Internet use has cut the digital divide between whites and African Americans in half. On a typical day, 59% of whites and 45% of African Americans go online using a computer, but when mobile access is included those figures go up to 61% of whites and 54% of African Americans. More than half of African Americans and Hispanics, 58% and 53% respectively, now use mobile broadband, compared to 33% of whites. This wasn't the case just two years ago — usage among African Americans is up 141% from 2007.
What else has changed? Hispanics have outpaced every other demographic group in home broadband access. 68% of Hispanics have home broadband access, compared to 65% of whites and 46% of African Americans. This has not been the case any other year, as Hispanics had lagged behind whites in home broadband adoption rates. The trend was reversed in 2009.
From 2008 to 2009 the news improved for other groups as well. Households with an annual income of less than $20,000 saw broadband adoption grew from 25% to 35%, and households with annual incomes between $20,000 and $30,000 grew from 42% to 53%. Moreover, among adults whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school degree, broadband adoption grew from 40% to 52%.
Finally, while youth are ubiquitously online, parents too are more wired than ever. Seventy-seven percent of parents with minor children have broadband access at home, compared with 63% of adults overall. Sixty-eight percent of parents with an annual household income between $20,000 and $50,000 have home broadband access, as well as 69% of African American and Hispanic parents.
Given these statistics, we're more confident than ever that technology will be increasingly accessible and can be harnessed to create lasting social change. And it's this good news that makes College Bound a promising vehicle for improving education in America.
Note: Data is from the Pew Research Center and The Hispanic Institute.