Survey: Internet use grows fast among Latinos

Dec 22, 2009 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Latino adults are increasing their use of the Internet faster than other ethnic groups, according to a new survey from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of adult Latinos in the U.S. who used the Internet grew to 64 percent from 54 percent, according to the survey. Among whites, increased to 76 percent from 72 percent. Blacks saw the smallest overall gain - two percentage points to 63 percent.

Latinos who were born in the U.S. were much more likely to go online than those born outside the U.S. This gap persisted even after accounting for differences in education levels, household income and English proficiency, the report said.

Poor Latinos went online less than those with higher incomes. But overall, groups that traditionally have had low rates of Internet use were increasingly embracing the Web. In 2006, for example, 31 percent of Latinos without a high school diploma reported ever going online. In 2008, this number grew to 41 percent.

Pew also surveyed people on broadband access. In many surveys over the past seven years, it has found that those with home broadband access are more engaged in the online world, staying in touch with friends and family and finding out what is going on in their communities.

More than three-quarters of Latinos who used the Internet from their homes did so using a . This was up from 63 percent in 2006. For whites, this percentage grew to 82 percent from 65 percent and for blacks, home broadband access grew to 78 percent from 63 percent.

The report, which Pew was releasing Tuesday, focused on technology use among Latinos, whites and between 2006 and 2008. It consisted of eight telephone surveys, three conducted for the Pew Hispanic Center, and five for the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The five Pew Internet surveys had sample sizes ranging from 2,251 to 4,001 adults and had margins of error between 1.7 percentage points and 2.4 percentage points.

The three Pew Hispanic Center surveys each sampled between 1,540 and 4,016 U.S. Latinos and had margins of error ranging from 2.4 percentage points to 3.8 percentage points.

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