NC in Focus: Computer & Internet Access
The U.S. Census Bureau released results from the 2013 American Community Survey this morning. This data is available for the nation, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more.
This marked the first time that the survey included a set of questions about computer and internet use that included information on type of internet access. These questions were mandated by the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act and will be used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to measure broadband access nationwide. In addition, they will be used to identify communities eligible for grants that will expand broadband access.
Nationally, 88% of all individuals living in households have access to a computer. Among individuals with computer access, 89% also have internet access, representing 78% of the household population with access to the internet. The vast majority of those with internet access are using broadband of some form; only 1.1% of households with internet report that they only have a dial-up connection.
Across the states, these proportions vary substantially. Utah has the highest proportion of individuals with access to a computer (95%) while Mississippi has the lowest (80%). North Carolina is 41st for computer access. 86% of North Carolina’s household population has a computer at home.
When it comes to internet access, Massachusetts leads the states. 93% of individuals in Massachusetts have access to a computer and 93% of these individuals also have internet access, representing 86% of the household population with access to the internet. Mississippi is again at the bottom. 79% of Mississippi’s computer users have internet access, representing less than two-thirds (63%) of Mississippi’s household population with access to the internet. North Carolina is similarly ranked: our state is 40th for overall internet access. 88% of North Carolina computer users have access to the internet at home, representing 76% of the state’s total household population with internet access.
Within North Carolina, the share of the population with computer and internet access varies significantly across the state. Urban areas with highly educated, higher income populations have the greatest access, while access is lower in the more rural areas of the state. The interactive graphic below shows the distribution of computer and internet access among the household population for each North Carolina congressional district in 2013.
Computer access ranges from a low of 79.3% in North Carolina’s 1st district to a high of 94.7% in the 9th district. Internet access ranges from 66.1% in the 1st district to 88.2% in the 9th district.