- 30% of American heads-of-households have never created a document on a computer
- 21% of American heads-of-households have never looked up a Web page on the Internet
- 21% of American heads-of-households have never used email
Age and educational attainment were significant determinants of digital citizenship, showing that the digital divide is really a proxy socioeconomic divide.
This is one thing that has continued to make me uneasy about the digital revolution — it seems to be as unfair as lifting a tax on the rich. The divide is probably widening, especially when you see it as a proxy socioeconomic divide. Nothing in the past 10 years has closed this gap.
It also makes me wonder about initiatives like Google Health and Microsoft’s HealthVault, which presuppose someone has a computer, high-speed access, and computer skills (and knowledge of health, and time to create a complicated record). Ultimately, these make the divide deeper, disenfranchising the people who might most benefit from a single health record (older, less affluent, less knowledgeable about health issues).
Of course, things are improving, but slowly, and the last 15-20% of users may benefit from a new approach to help them close the digital divide.