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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release
April 17, 2000

THE IMPORTANCE OF BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE AND
CREATING DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL AMERICANS
April 17, 2000

- Access to computers and the Internet and the ability to effectively use this technology are becoming increasingly important for full participation in America's economic, political, and social life. In recent years, access to computers and the Internet has exploded. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence of a "digital divide" -- a gap between those individual and communities that have access to these Information Age tools and those who don't.

Better-educated Americans are more likely to be connected.

- 69 percent of households with a bachelor's degree or higher have computers, compared to 16 percent of those households that have not completed high school (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

- 45 percent of households with a bachelor's degree or more have Internet access in the home, compared to 14 percent with no only a high school diploma or GED (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

The divide between high and low-income Americans is significant.

- 80 percent of households with an income of $75,000 or above have computers, compared to 16 percent of households earning $10,000 - $15,000 (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

- 60 percent of households with incomes of $75,000 or above have Internet access, compared to 12 percent earning $20,000 - $25,000 (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

Whites are more likely to be connected than African-Americans and Hispanics. - 47 percent of white households have computers, compared to 23 percent of African-American and 26 percent of Hispanic households (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

- 53 percent of white, two-parent households with children earning more than $35,000 have Internet access in the home, compared to 31 percent of African-American and Hispanic households (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

- However, there is virtually no gap in computer ownership between white and African-American households earning more than $75,000. (Dept. of Commerce, "Falling Through The Net," July 1999).

Wealthier schools are more likely to be connected to the Internet than poorer schools

- In wealthy schools (less than 11 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch), 74 percent of classrooms are connected to the Internet, compared to 39 percent for the poorest schools (71 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch) (Fall 1999 data, Dept of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms," February 2000).

People with disabilities are less likely to have access to technology.

- 11 percent of people aged 15 and above with a disability have access to the Internet at home, compared to 31 percent of people without disabilities (Current Population Survey, 1998 Computer and Internet Use Supplement, as cited in H. Stephen Kaye, Computer and Internet Use Among People with Disabilities, Disability Statistics Center, March 2000).

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