Commentary

Californians Lead The Way in Internet Health Dependence

Californians Lead The Way in Internet Health Dependence

According to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, relatively poor Internet users in California are more wired and have more online experience than their peers in other parts of the nation. It turns out that the digital divide is not as pervasive in California as it is in the rest of the country, says the report.

The report finds that low-income Californians who use the Internet are just as likely as more well-to-do Internet users to go online in search of health care information. And once they are online, this survey finds that low-income Californians are just as likely as those who earn more money to research at least one of 16 health topics online. Seven out of ten Californians, whether they are low-income or higher income, say the Internet has improved the health and medical information and services they receive. This finding suggests, notes the report, that, as more low-income Americans go online and become comfortable with using the Internet, they will enjoy the same benefits as more upscale Internet users who do searches online for important medical information.

However, online Californians differ from other wired Americans in areas of online health and Internet use:

- 31% of online Californians have searched the Internet for information about health insurance, compared to 24% of the rest of the country's Internet users.

- 33% of online Californians have searched for alternative treatments, compared to 27% of the rest of the country's Internet users.

- 23% of online Californians have searched for experimental medical treatments, compared to 17% of the rest of the country's Internet users.

- 45% of Californians living in households with annual incomes of less than $30,000 report having access to the Internet, compared to 36% of those living in low-income households in the 47 other continental states.

- 84% of low-income Californian Internet users have searched online for at least one health topic, compared to 77% of low-income non-Californian Internet users.

- 74% of California's Latino Internet users in the survey report that the Internet has improved the health and medical information and services they receive.

Finally, the report concludes, California often leads the nation in social, political, and economic trends. This report shows that Californian Internet users are using the Internet more than other Americans to research health insurance options, alternative medicine, and experimental treatments.

Find out more here.

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