New survey examines racial and ethnic differences in technology use by millennials

A new study conducted by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that while the similarities to the rest of their generation are numerous, there are some distinct differences in the way that Hispanic and African American Millennials use technology to access news and information. The source of their information is one area of difference: these young adults are more likely to use YouTube and Instagram for news than Millennials in general, though all groups rely heavily on Facebook. The study is a deeper examination of a large nationwide survey of 1,045 adults age 18-34 conducted from January 5 through February 2, 2015. Additional analysis was conducted to determine whether there are major differences between racial and ethnic groups within the Millennial generation.

"This survey shows that Hispanic and African American Millennials are just as likely as the rest of their generation to use the internet and social media to find ," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "But there are differences in how they access the news, and some differences in the types of news and information they tend to follow."

Some of the key findings of this more detailed analysis include:

  • Facebook and search engines are the primary means by which Millennials obtain their news for a majority of topics, regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Hispanic and African American Millennials, however, use YouTube and Instagram more for getting news than the population overall. Use of other platforms—such as Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and Tumblr—for news is similar across racial and .
  • Millennials across racial and ethnic groups follow different news topics. Of the 24 news and information topics the survey asked about, significant racial and ethnic differences emerged for nine.
  • Millennials of all races and ethnicities are equally as likely to have paid news subscriptions.
  • Contrary to popular perception of the Millennial generation, only 51 percent say they are almost always or mostly online and connected, and this is consistent across racial and ethnic groups.
  • There are differences between ethnic groups in how they spend their time online: only 37% of Hispanic Millennials, for example, report playing games online, compared to 50% of white Millennials.

"This new research makes it even clearer that the so-called 'digital divide' hasn't materialized as envisioned." said Tom Rosenstiel, Executive Director of the American Press Institute. "Not only are people of different ethnicities connected at relatively the same rate, but they also act in fairly similar ways online in many respects. Where we see differences, it is in some of the topics they follow, and interestingly, in the use of alternative paths to find them."

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Citation: New survey examines racial and ethnic differences in technology use by millennials (2015, August 26) retrieved 8 August 2022 from
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