Jen Runne of EMarketer summarized recent studies that have shown that as computer prices fall and internet access options outside of the home increase, the diversity of the user base in the United States is increasing as well. Today's internet user base, she says, is much more inclusive than the stereotypical all-white, all-male technophile club.
In the last two years, African-American presence online has increased by 110%, far more than any other ethnic group in the US. Even the most optimistic forecasts predict that the total number of users in the US will grow by less than a factor of two between 2000 and 2004 (eMarketer).
A separate study, by the US Census Bureau in 2000, showed that in the years between 1998 and 2000, the use of the internet by African-American children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old increased by almost 50%, and among 9 to 17 year olds, by over 60%.
56% of African-Americans online are under the age of 34, and over a quarter of African-Americans online are between 18 and 24, numbers that outstrip their Caucasian online compatriots. And, in a recent article published by this week's Editor & Publisher magazine, Ken Smickle, president of Chicago-based Target Market News said that African-American households are increasing their spending on newspapers while white households are spending less,
The most recent data available also show that black households on average now spend slightly more on newspapers than white households. The data contradict a widely held industry belief that African Americans tend not to be print consumers — and particularly not newspaper readers.
Smickle said. "African-American households tend to be far more information-hungry than white households are. They spend more on average than white households for television, cable, radio, telephone service, Internet access — and now, apparently, that's true about newspapers as well."