CJTC — The Center for Justice, Tolerance & Community University of California, Santa Cruz
CJTC — The Center for Justice, Tolerance & Community

Research and Community Projects


Digital Divide


New Reports

Crossing the Divide

The digital divide between immigrants and the native born is widening in the United States, with some immigrant groups less than half as likely to have computer access at home as nonimmigrants, according to a new study by researchers at the CJTC.

Only 36 percent of Latino immigrant youth have a computer at home, compared with 77 percent of U.S.-born non-Latino youth, according to the new report, "Crossing the Divide: Immigrant Youth and Digital Disparity in California."

Click here for the full report

Click here for the executive summary

Click here for the full press release

Measuring Digital Opportunity for America's Children


CJTC affiliate, Rob Fairlie, offered key contributions to Measuring Digital Opportunity for America's Children, a new research report released by The Children's Partnership. It is the first-ever look across four key areas to see whether Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is helping children:

1) improve educational achievement,
2) lead healthier lives,
3) increase economic opportunity, and
4) participate in their communities.


About the Digital Divide Project

Policy makers and others have been alarmed by consistent evidence of racial disparities in computer and Internet use. Indeed, as is shown in the figure below, minority groups fall far behind whites in their at-home and at-school internet usage. Related to this, significant disparities also exist in the percentage of instructional rooms connected to the Internet and the average number of students per instructional computer with Internet access. These patterns for youth are especially troubling in light of the presumption that exposure to information technology is a new prerequisite for success in the labor market.

The causes and consequences of such disparities, as well as one potential solution to the problem, are the focus of Youth, Race, and the Digital Divide. The two-year project includes four sub-studies:

  • new research on the factors explaining racial disparities in school and home access to information technology for teens and young adults;
  • econometric analysis of the effects of such disparities on school performance and labor market performance;
  • an integrated qualitative study of one increasingly popular intervention to address racial and geographic disparities in computer access, Community Technology Centers (CTCs); and
  • the dissemination of findings in both academic and popular venues.

The quantitative research on the causes and consequences of the digital divide relies upon sophisticated econometric analyses of large national datasets. Preliminary findings indicate that net of ethnicity, income differences among groups are important indicators of computer and internet usage, but do not explain the entire digital divide. Education levels and language barriers also explain part of the divide. Findings also indicate that the digital divide can have important consequences for youth. In particular, lack of access to information technology is found to be associated with poorer educational outcomes.

The qualitative research on CTCs focuses on the mechanisms through which CTCs engage youth in goal-oriented programming, and the relative merit of this approach, relative to at-home or at-school computer use, for participating youth. Research will rely mainly on interviews and focus groups with staff and youth participants at several CTCs nationwide. In addition, relevant stakeholders will be engaged early in the research process to help shape the project, and products will include academic articles, policy briefings, popular articles, and web dissemination, all with an eye toward offering high quality research that can shape the nascent policy debate over how to "bridge" the digital divide.

CJTC analysis reveals continuing gaps in computer, internet, and broadband use: In a new analysis of the 2003 Current Population Survey, CJTC analysts show that there are worrisome gaps by ethnicity in terms of access and use of digital technologies. While income differentials are a factor, they do not explain all the difference -- and there are widening gaps around broadband use. The presentation includes a special focus on California, an analysis of the consequences of digital difference for youth outcomes, and a description of a qualitative analysis of community technology centers.

To download the .PDF version of the presentation, click on the following link.

 "A Nation Offline? Research on the Digital Divide"


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