The Connected Cities and Inclusive Growth (CCIG) project, a collaboration between the USC Annenberg Research Network for International Communication (ARNIC) and the USC Price Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB), has released its Policy Brief #2: Mapping digital exclusion in Los Angeles County.
The policy brief maps the social and geographical contours of digital exclusion in Los Angeles County. The focus is on home broadband, which refers to the adoption of residential Internet services, regardless of access technology or devices used. The data is sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS), which is the latest available that allows for geographical disaggregation at the level of communities within Los Angeles County. By identifying key trends and geographical patterns in Internet adoption, this document seeks to contribute new evidence that informs ongoing debates about digital inequalities in Los Angeles County.
The findings indicate that the social and economic dividends associated with the Internet are not extending to those most in need. In South Los Angeles, only about half of the residents report having a broadband connection at home, and there are indications that the homework gap for K-12 students is growing. Seniors and people with disabilities continue to face higher barriers to access, and the racial gap in connectivity remains large even after accounting for differences in income and other demographics. Further, the findings suggest the emergence of a mobile-only digital underclass with more limited digital capabilities.