As Technology Advances, Latinos Lag Behind in Use

By Griselda Nevarez, Voxxi

Advances in technology have had a profound effect on everyday life for Americans as the use of cell phones, computers and other technologies have exploded in the last two decades, according to Face the Facts USA.

Twenty years ago, cell phones were rare. Only 5.3 million Americans owned cell phones in 1990. But by 2010, that number jumped to 302.9 million—almost one for every resident in the United States.

Computers have also taken off. In 1989, 15 percent of Americans had a computer in their home. By 2010, 77 percent could say the same, and many of them had multiple computers.

Computers are widely used to access the Internet, and four out of five American adults use the Internet. Some Americans who don’t own a computer access the Internet using their smartphones.

And increasingly, Americans are using computers to shop. E-commerce grew from 0.6 percent of retail sales in 1999 to 5.1 percent by mid-2012. Online shopping on Black Friday has also been on this rise. This year, online sales on Black Friday topped $1 billion for the first time.

Latinos lag behind in the use of technology

But as technology advances and continues to have a great impact on Americans, studies show Latinos lag behind in the use of technology.

According to survey findings from the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos are less likely than whites and blacks to access the Internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone.

In 2010, about 65 percent of Latino adults and 66 percent black adults used the Internet compared to 77 percent of white adults.

There is also a large difference between the three groups in terms of broadband use at home. The Pew study showed 45 percent of Latinos use broadband at home compared to 65 percent of whites and 52 percent of blacks.

In terms of cell phones, more whites (85 percent) owned a cell phone in 2010 than Latinos (76 percent) and blacks (79 percent).

However, Latinos and blacks are adopting new shopping technologies and are using mobile devices to shop at a faster rate than whites.

According to a recent shopping behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, 16 percent of Latinos and 18 percent of blacks make purchases using mobile devices compared to 10 percent of whites.

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Griselda Nevárez is a reporter with Hispanic Link News Service in Washington D.C.

[Photo by branox]

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