The State of the Digital Divide in the United States — from by Roberto Gallardo


The COVID-19 pandemic shed a bright light on an issue that has been around for decades: the digital divide. As parents, children, and workers scrambled to learn, socialize, and work from home, adequate internet connectivity became critical. This analysis takes a detailed look at the digital divide as it was in 2020 (latest year available), who it affected, and its socioeconomic implications by using an innovative metric called the digital divide index. It should also increase awareness on this issue as communities and residents prepare to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime investment in both broadband infrastructure and digital equity, components of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Data for this analysis came primarily from the U.S. Census Bureau 5-year American Community Survey. Additional sources include but are not limited to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Lightcast (formerly known as Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. or EMSI) and Venture Forward by GoDaddy. The unit of analysis was U.S. counties for which DDI scores were calculated 1 .