Pew: Rural Americans less likely to use the Internet

Pew: Rural Americans less likely to use the Internet.
A new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that, despite gains, only 52 percent of rural Americans say they’re online, compared to two-thirds of those in urban and suburban households. Here’s how Reuters tells it:

Location alone has little effect on Internet usage, the Pew group said. But rural residents as a whole are less affluent, less educated and older than the population as a whole, factors that correlate with reduced Internet use, the report said.

Rural users are more likely to look for religious information but are less likely to shop, bank or make travel reservations online, the report said.

While not surprising, this report is significant for anybody trying to market to a rural group. That includes the media and political types. Rural America is generally conservative America, and their value system is much more likely to be Modernist as opposed to Postmodernist. 52 percent may be small potatoes compared to urban settings, but any sociological measurement that crosses the 50 percent threshold on its way up is statistically significant. This will be an interesting group to watch in the years ahead, for as I’ve previously reported, the structure of the Internet itself — with its links and references — forces users into an exercise that is essentially Postmodern.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is using public funds to help provide broadband Internet service to rural areas. It’s part of an effort over there to bridge the digital divide in Europe. The Register reports that the service is delivered through two-way satellite access for the backhaul, while those within each community are connected by Wi-Fi.

Food for thought.

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