Nearly one-in-five teens can’t always finish their homework because of the digital divide

Denver Housing Shortage

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 25: Katrina Archuleta, 17, helps her sister, Amani Gonzalez, 5, with math homework at their home on Thursday, January 25, 2018. Their family of eight lives in a three-bedroom apartment on south Federal Boulevard. Though housing large enough to accommodate the family of eight has become unaffordable, they will soon be moving to a five-bedroom home through Habitat for Humanity. Colorado has struggled to supply enough housing to match its growth. As a result, home prices and rents are soaring making it particularly difficult for entry level and low-income buyers. Households earning less than $50,000 a year are diverting $2 billion in extra spending because of that lack of supply and it is putting a strain on the entire economy. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Source: Pew Research Center

BY MONICA ANDERSON AND ANDREW PERRIN

Some 15% of U.S. households with school-age children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. New survey findings from the Center also show that some teens are more likely to face digital hurdles when trying to complete their homework.

School-age children in lower-income households are especially likely to lack broadband access. Roughly one-third of households with children ages 6 to 17 and whose annual income falls below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, compared with just 6% of such households earning $75,000 or more a year. These broadband disparities are particularly pronounced for black and Hispanic households with school-age children – especially those with low household incomes. (The overall share of households with school-age children lacking a high-speed internet connection in 2015 is comparable to what the Center found in an analysis of 2013 Census data.)

This aspect of the digital divide – often referred to as the “homework gap” – can be an academic burden for teens who lack access to digital technologies at home. Black teens, as well as those from lower-income households, are especially likely to face these school-related challenges as a result, according to the new Center survey of 743 U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 conducted March 7–April 10, 2018.

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