Black residents in the rural South are nearly twice as likely as their white counterparts to lack home internet access, according to a new study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
The study, published Wednesday, examined 152 counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia where at least 35% of residents are Black. Researchers found that 38% of Black residents in those counties do not have access to internet in their homes, compared to 23% of white residents in the same regions.
The study also found that nearly one in four Black residents in the rural South don’t even have the option to subscribe to high speed broadband, compared to just 3.8% of Americans nationwide.
The research offers a stark snapshot of how the inability to access affordable broadband can be felt most acutely for Black Americans in the rural South, a region of the country where they account for nearly half of the total population.