Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption

Content From: Rosemari Ochoa, New Media FellowPublished: March 14, 20132 min read


According to Pew Research Hispanic Center’sExit Disclaimer new report, Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology AdoptionExit Disclaimer, the “digital divide” between Latinos and other ethnic groups is closing.

Latinos Social Networking Use

The Pew report examines 2012 social media, digital technology, and mobile technology use among Latinos, whites, and blacks. The report also identifies these trends by income, education, age, education, urbanity, place of birth (foreign or domestic), and language dominance. Here are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Latinos are online and mobile: Latino internet users are more likely than white internet users to say they go online using a mobile device – 76% versus 60%. Three-in-four (76%) Latino internet users say they access the internet on a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile handheld device at least occasionally. The number rises to 87% for Latinos ages 18-29 years old.
  • Latinos use social media: Fully 84% of Latino internet users ages 18-29 say they use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Among Latinos who use social networking sites, 60% say they do mostly or only in English, 29% say they do mostly or only in Spanish, and 11% say they use both English and Spanish.
  • Latinos use the internet including social networking sites in English, but many also use them in Spanish: Among Latino internet users, 72% are either English dominant (31%) or bilingual (41%), and 28% are Spanish dominant.

We asked Francisco Ruiz, Senior Manager for Health Equity at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS DirectorsExit Disclaimer, what this research means for Latino outreach and HIV. This is what he said:“When we think about reaching Latino communities – particularly young Latinos/Latinas – with vital information about HIV and sexual health, we must incorporate digital platforms into our strategies. Whether it is text messaging, social networking sites, or mobile apps, we know that as the digital divide closes, these tools can be powerful in promoting health equity.”

In 2009, Latinos made up 20% of new HIV infections in the United States while representing approximately 16% of the total U.S. population. The CDC estimates 1 in 36 Latino men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime, as will 1 in 106 Latina women.

To learn more about HIV in the Latino community, read the following:

How does this research inform your communications strategies to Latino audiences?