Adjusted Socioeconomically, Hispanics and Whites Neck and Neck in Digital Use

According to a study from the Pew Research Center, reported in Marketing Charts, 65% of Latino and 66% of African American adults went online in 2010, roughly 14% less than the 77% of white adults who did so. Additionally, only 45% of Latinos have broadband access at home, 13% less than the 52% of blacks and 31% less than the 65% of whites with home broadband access.

When controlling for education and income, the differences in these three measures between Hispanics and whites disappear. In other words, Hispanics and whites with similar socioeconomic backgrounds have similar usage patterns. Moreover, those born in the US and bilingual and English-dominant Latinos were more likely to use digital technologies.

Latinos Less Plugged-In (% of Respondents)


Internet Use

Home Broadband Access

Cell Phone Use













Source: Pew Hispanic Center Survey, August 2010

Pew analysis indicates that bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics are far ahead of Spanish-dominant Latinos in many measures of digital usage, too. Spanish-language Latinos are significantly less likely to use the internet, have a home internet connection, have home broadband access, or have a cell phone than English-dominant and bilingual Latinos. However,Spanish-dominant Internet usage has increased to 47% in 2010.

In Latino TV consumption, Spanish-language Univision is now the fifth-largest network in primetime audience in the US. Univision dwarfs all other Spanish-language broadcasters in the US. In the 2010-2011 television season, Univision was the only major US TV network to grow average primetime audience among 18-49 year olds, up 8% compared to the season before. For the same demographic group among the English-language networks, Fox lost 4%, CBS lost 8%, ABC lost 9% and NBC lost 14% in the same period.

Univision Competes With Big Four Networks (Viewers 18-49; Millions; Season Avg. Through 5/15/2011)















Source: Nielsen, May 2011

In total viewers, Univision remains behind its English-language counterparts (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC). But it has closed the gap substantially in recent years. For the season running June 2010-May 2011, Univision averaged 1.9 million viewers ages 18 to 49 in primetime, just more than a million shy of the fourth-ranked English-language network, NBC.

On a number of occasions throughout the 2010/2011 season, moreover, Univision even surpassed one or more the English-language networks:

  • July 2010 was the first month in which Univision attracted more 18-to-34-year-old viewers in primetime than any network, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC
  • About half of the nights during the first quarter of 2011 it attracted more 18-to-49-year-old viewers than NBC
  • For 22 nights over the February 2011 sweeps period, Univision had higher ratings in primetime than at least one of the big four English-language networks in the 18-34 or 18-49 age groups
  • Later, for a week in April 2011, Univision attracted more primetime viewers than NBC - the second time in four weeks that it edged out a big network
  • And for a week in May 2011, Univision was the No. 3 broadcast network in primetime, ahead of CBS and NBC with 1.1 million viewers ages 18 to 34

César Conde, president of Univision, told the Miami Herald that "... Univision has gotten so big over the years that our primary competition is the English-language networks... "

Additional findings noted in the report:

  • The Latino Print Network, whose measures include both Spanish and English language newspapers aimed at the Hispanic population, estimated Hispanic newspaper ad spending in 2010 at $712 million, a 5.6% drop from $754 million a year earlier
  • In 2010, local ads accounted for 78% of all Hispanic newspaper ad revenue, or $554 million, according to Latino Print Network. National ad revenue accounted for 21% ($151 million); online web advertising represented only 1% of ad revenue ($7.2 million)
  • By the most recent count (fall 2009), there were 1,323 Spanish-language stations
  • Pew estimates Spanish-language magazine ad spending grew 5% year-over-year in 2010

And, according to a July 2011 survey from the Pew Research Center, younger adults, minorities, and lower income earners who own smartphones are likeliest to use them to access the internet. 42% of 18-to-29-year-old smartphone owners mostly use them for web access, double the 21% of 30-to-49-year-olds who do so and more than four times the 10% of smartphone owners 50 and older, while 38% of black and Latino smartphone owners mostly use the devices for web access, more than double the 17% of white smartphone owners who do so.

For more information, please visit the complete Pew report here, or the excerpts from Marketing Charts here.

3 comments about "Adjusted Socioeconomically, Hispanics and Whites Neck and Neck in Digital Use".
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  1. Michael Strassman from Similarweb, September 19, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.

    kind of a non-headline...hmmm, when we take away the educational and financial disadvantages of minorities, they appear to use technology just as much as there anyone outside of racists and tea party members who've labored under the belief that hispanics and blacks were inherently less able to use technology? I hope not. The differences which still exist and which are worth reporting are cultural and speak to how each group uses technology and the underlying motivations.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 19, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.

    Michael, you have said it exactly.

  3. Barry Dennis from netweb/Omni, September 19, 2011 at 6:31 p.m.

    Convergence AAA (AnyThing, AnyTime AnyWhere) fits the lifestyle and needs of younger Mobile and other device Users (Tablets as fully-capable combinations of Mobile and Portable is next!) more than ever, and is growing every day, 300%-400% ++ a year!

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