Study Confirms Minorities Use Cell Phones More, in More Ways

Study Confirms Minorities Use Cell Phones More, in More Ways


A new study confirms that minorities use their mobile phones at a higher rate than do whites and use their devices to access a wide range of mobile applications.

The study by the Pew Research Center also found that urban and suburban residents use their mobile phones for more uses than do rural residents.  Specifically, “urban residents are more likely than both rural and suburban dwellers to use their phones to play games (43 percent of urban cell owners do this), access a social networking site (35 percent), watch a video (31 percent), do online banking (25 percent) or take part in a video call or chat (10 percent),” the report found.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project called random users and asked them various questions about how they used their mobile phones for the preceding 30 days.

“Our previous research has indicated that African Americans and Latinos have relatively high levels of smartphone adoption compared with whites, and also that they are comparatively more likely to rely on their phones for most of their online access,” said Aaron Smith, the senior research specialist for the report. “Both of those factors play a role in their rates of mobile usage.”

Approximately 83 percent of American adults own some kind of mobile phone, but as recent reports have found those without a computer and broadband or internet connection at home are forced to use their mobile devices to access a variety of applications.

The study provides the case for the importance of mobile phone access and bridging the digital divide. The entire study can be found downloaded at Pew’s Web site.


  1. Taken in concert with other data re: minorities, telecommunications, and consumer electronics, studies like this reveal the complexity of the digital divide and how inefficient and underdeveloped is America's infrastructure. It appears mobile phones, esp. 'smart' phones, represent a minimal entry point for adoption of digital technology — with African- and Latino-Americans comprising a disproportionately large share of the demographic. Were either to have actual, viable choices, they'd choose differently. In economic terms, a reliance upon smartphones and mobile telephony by minorities is similar to depending upon a single two-lane highway to serve an entire city's transportation needs.

  2. The digital divide is like the continental divide — something people keep talking about but can't really put their finger on it. Black people use mobile. Is this new to anyone walking down the street? Black people spend money on smart phones because it makes sense. The only people that want us tethered to a monior and keyboard are equipment makers.

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