Cybercitizens of the Commonwealth: How Rural and Urban Pennsylvanians Access and Use the Internet.Report as inadecuate

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A study examined whether citizens of Pennsylvania are aware of and able to access the Internet, how they are using online state resources, and whether there is a parity of access to advanced information services between rural and urban citizens. Data were gathered via telephone surveys of 1,000 residents from 62 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Findings indicate that although the number of households with personal computers had clearly increased since 1998, segments of the population continued to be disadvantaged. Urban and rural residents both lagged behind suburban residents. Rural residents without children in the home were the least likely of any group to have a personal computer. Higher educational and income levels were the primary predictors of whether a household had a personal computer, regardless of the area people lived in. Achieving at least some college education was a key element in reducing levels of dislike of technology. Despite growing use and availability of the Internet in all areas and across all segments of the population, urban and rural areas were still disadvantaged. Economics was the primary roadblock to access for urban residents. Lack of Internet service, especially high-speed connections, was the primary problem for rural residents. Nearly one-third of residents had accessed governmental services information online, with about 10 percent using the Internet for political information. Recommendations for policy are discussed. (TD)

Descriptors: Age Differences, Computer Anxiety, Computer Use, Educational Attainment, Internet, Place of Residence, Rural Urban Differences, Socioeconomic Influences, State Surveys, Technological Literacy

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Author: Tomlinson, James E.


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