Why Many Americans Still Don't Have Internet Access, In 4 Charts

Why Many Americans Still Don't Have Internet Access, In 4 Charts

In some American cities, up to 40 percent of households don't have an Internet connection, according to a new analysis based on census data.

Bill Callahan, director of the digital access advocacy group Connect Your Community 2.0, crunched numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau to find the best- and worst-connected major American cities.

More than a quarter of households in the U.S. don’t have a computer with an Internet connection, according to the 2013 American Community Survey released by the Census Bureau in September. The report was the first Community Survey to look at rates of Internet connection by detailed geographic location.

Callahan's analysis of the census data shows how dramatically these rates vary across the 176 American cities that have 50,000 households or more. Laredo, Texas, was the worst-connected big city, with 40.2 percent of households lacking Internet access, according to Callahan’s analysis. Detroit wasn’t far behind, with 39.9 percent of households offline. On the other end of the spectrum, Irvine, California and Cary, North Carolina, were the best-connected cities, with less than 5 percent of households in each city lacking an Internet connection.

All 176 cities are plotted out in our map. Later this year, the Census Bureau is expected to release data on less populated regions, which tend to be less connected than urban and suburban areas. Internet access is also stratified by age, race and household income, as shown in the charts below.

In terms of connectivity, the U.S. lags behind other wealthy countries, some of which consider Internet access a public good. A report released last month by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute details just how much slower and pricier Internet connection is in American cities compared to other places in the world.

Infographics by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.

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