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BizReport : Research archives : March 15, 2007

Survey: U.S. Latino internet usage

Recent research in to internet usage amongst U.S. Latinos has revealed what experts are calling one of the largest ethnic gaps in the digital divide.

by Helen Leggatt

While Latinos comprise 14 percent of the U.S. adult population, just over half (56 percent) go online. Compared to 71 percent of non-Latino whites and 60 percent of non-Latino blacks there is a big drop off when it comes to the Spanish speaking segment of U.S. society.

Pew Internet & American Life Project, along with the Pew Hispanic Center, surveyed more than 6,000 Latino adults by telephone, in both Spanish and English, and discovered several reasons for their online absence.

The more educated a Latino was, the more likely they were to use the internet. Those who did not complete high school made up just 31 percent of online Latinos, whereas 89 percent of those with a college degree went online. The figures for non-educated Latino users are actually fairly similar to non-Latino whites and blacks, the difference being that a higher percentage of Latinos, 41 percent, fail to complete their education.

Internet connections in Latino homes were found to be considerably lower than their white counterparts with 79 percent of Latinos having a connection of some sort, compared with 92 percent. The cost of broadband connections could well be a barrier. The survey included questions on income and found that white respondents had more income than Latinos which is reflected in just 29 percent of Latino households with broadband compared to 43 percent of white adults.

Marketers need to keep the growing Latino community in mind. At present, it is the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., and eMarketer recently predicted that Latino online ad spending would soon show greater increases than general-market online ad spending. They estimate that Latino growth would be around 32 percent, 7 percent higher than general-market.

“Even though many Hispanic Internet users speak English, they still want advertising and online content that speaks to them in a culturally relevant way,” said eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “Marketers will reach some Hispanic people by advertising on general-market sites, but they should also consider sites that are in English but are specifically aimed at the Hispanic population.”

Tags: broadband, eMarketer, Hispanic target group, internet usage, Latino target group, Pew

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