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New Report Sheds Light on Digital Divide

New Report Sheds Light on Digital Divide

Total household income has a major influence on household Internet access, according to The Digital Divide, a new report published by Statistics New Zealand. The proportion of households connected to the Internet rises with income, with households reporting incomes greater than $100,000 being five times more likely to have an Internet connection in the home than households with incomes under $15,000.

The term 'digital divide' is used to describe the gap between those who have access to information technologies such as the Internet, and those who do not. This report uses data from the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings with supporting data from the 2000/01 Household Economic Survey to identify which household characteristics influence this divide, where it can be found and whom it is affecting.

Level of education is also an important variable determining whether a household is connected to the Internet. Households where at least one person aged 15 years or over has a university qualification are the most likely to be connected, at 68 percent. In comparison, households where no one has a qualification have connection levels of only 12 percent.

Households consisting of a couple plus children have high levels of Internet access (55 percent).

Households with one person, or one parent and dependent children, are less likely than all other household types to access the Internet at home (16 and 30 percent, respectively).

The number of children in a household also appears to influence connectivity levels. Half of all households containing two children under the age of 15 are connected to the Internet, compared with a third of households with no children.

The Digital Divide is being launched on the Statistics New Zealand website to coincide with Statistics New Zealand’s hosting of The International Census Workshop. The role of the Internet in the census will be discussed at the workshop. The Digital Divide is also part of a series of web-based analytical reports that examine social trends and issues of current interest. The next report to be published will look at language retention in New Zealand. Printed copies of The Digital Divide will be available on request.

David Archer

Acting Government Statistician

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