Future Impact of the Digital Divide

Goals

To understand the future impact of the digital divide, specifically how non-action will effect the health of society and, conversely, how expanding access to digital will better society.

Early Findings

  • In terms of access, the digital divide is shrinking at a rate of 5% annually. It is expected that 100% of the world population will have access to the internet by 2028.
  • Though access in general is shrinking, other aspects are intensifying the digital divide. Autocratic government regimes are using censorship to control access. In other areas, the quality and cost may still limit people's ability to have full access. Finally, the digital literacy of some populations and communities may discourage full usage.
  • According to Jordana Barton of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and author of Preparing Workers for the Expanding Digital Economy, “Those who find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide—including low-income people, those with less formal education, rural populations, the elderly and older workers, and minorities—suffer further economic, social, health, and political disparities resulting from disconnection.”

Economic Impact

  • A Pew Report found that 80% of people search for jobs online. People without digital access lose out on job opportunities further impacting the economy of low and moderate income communities.
  • It is expected that middle-skill jobs, those that require more training than a high school degree but not necessarily a college degree, are going to outnumber other types of employment, especially in the south. According to a Burning Glass Techologies report, these 82% of these middle-skills jobs require digital skills knowledge and pay over 17% more than non-digital jobs.
  • The digital divide also limits business development in low and moderate-income communities. In addition to a lack of skilled workforce, without internet access, businesses in these areas cannot thrive.

Proposed next steps:

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