NC in Focus: Internet Access
Nationally, 78% of all households subscribe to the internet. This rate is two percentage points lower in North Carolina—76%—reflecting generally lower internet access rates among households in rural and lower-income counties. These data come from the 2017 5-Year American Community Survey (ACS) estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the first data to provide estimates of computer and internet use for all communities.
Across North Carolina’s 100 counties, internet access varies widely. In twelve counties, 80% or more of county households subscribe to the internet. These counties include the core counties of the Triangle and Charlotte metropolitan areas, as well as six coastal counties. Eighty-eight percent of Wake County households have internet access, the highest rate statewide, followed by Union and Orange counties (both at 87%).
In contrast, the internet subscription rate among households in Swain, the county with the lowest rate, is just over half that of Wake: 46% of Swain County households subscribe to the internet. Graham (50%) and Robeson (51%) counties have the next lowest rates of household internet access.
While 76% of NC households have internet access, 80% of North Carolina residents live in a household with internet. Asian residents are the most likely to live in a household with a broadband internet subscription (91%), followed by White (84%), Hispanic (73%), Black (71%), and American Indian (60%) residents.