RealTime IT News

Report: African American Online Growth Continues

The great Internet divide between those with online access and those without is shrinking, and analysts predict the gap will continue to narrow over the next decade.

"African Americans Online: Crossing the Digital Divide," a report published this week by Internet market research firm eMarketer, shows the African American population is now online at an all-time high of 48.7 percent.

But the disparity in Internet usage between African Americans and Caucasian Americans still exists, as the number is well short of the 69 percent level among whites.

According to the report, however, as the number of African Americans online increases and growth among whites plateaus, that difference will decrease.

"The African American online market is gaining some momentum as more users come online and as blue-chip advertisers reach out to this growing audience," Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer and the author of the report, said.

African Americans are a strong potential market for broadband services and for education, career-oriented and informational content, said Williamson in the report. They will also be among the early adopters of the mobile Internet.

Of course, critical barriers remain, including the relative small number of African American households without a computer.

"Although African Americans are increasingly using the Internet at work, home access is a strong driver of frequency of use," Williamson said.

African Americans now make up 10.5 percent of all U.S. Internet users.