Indians left out of digital divide
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OCTOBER 17, 2000

On Monday, the US Department of Commerce released its latest report on the digital divide, confirming that American Indians and Alaska Natives have been left out of the drive for increased access to technology.

But the exclusion of Native Americans isn't the one many are expecting. The report itself doesn't show how many Native families own computers or how many Native Americans use the Internet, for instance.

Instead, statistics on the American Indian and Alaska Native population has been left out entirely in the latest report on digital inclusion.

Given the push this year to increase Native American participation in technology, which included a visit by President Bill Clinton to the Navajo Nation in April, the lack of statistics on the Indian population appears to be a glaring omission. Also, the last report on the digital divide did include statistics on computer usage among Native Americans. (See Digital Divide Stats)

But the Commerce Department has a reason for the exclusion in its most recent report. Data on Native Americans isn't included because the sample population is "too small for credible results," says the Department.

For the rest of the country, however, access to computers has increased dramatically. As of August 2000, almost 51 percent of American households now own computers, up from 42 percent in December 1998.

The percentage of homes with Internet access increased by 58 percent. As of August 2000, some 42 percent now have Internet access, up from 26 percent in December 1998.

Asian-Americans still lead in computer ownership. Almost 67 percent of Asian-American households owned a computer as of August 2000.

African-Americans had the lowest rate, with 33 percent reporting ownership.

Get the Report:
Falling Through the Net, Executive Summary (NTIA October 2000)
Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion [PDF 727k] (NTIA October 2000)
For IE Users:
Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion [PDF 727k] (NTIA October 2000)

Create your own AI/AN Report:
The statistically inclined can still peform their own analyses on data collected on Native Americans by visiting the Public Use homepage at the Census Bureau - Computer Ownership (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau)

Relevant Links:
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration -

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