RE: Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic

Darryl Wiggers (Darryl.Wiggers@AllianceAtlantis.com)
Thu, 24 Aug 2000 13:04:17 -0700 (PDT)

The difference is, people don't really need TVs. There are still plenty who
can function in this world without having seen the finale of Survivor. But
there's a huge push to make primary information and services available ONLY
on the internet. So, yes, the day will come when the computer will be as
essential as water, gas and hydro (or at least seem that way). The strange
thing is, this is phenomenon that exists mainly in North America. The "need"
is almost purely industry-driven.

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Timberlake [mailto:ctimberl@sjvls.lib.ca.us]
Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 3:26 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: RE: Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic

Is it posssible that the low-income families are not purchasing PCs, but
are accessing the Internet at their nearest public library?

Also, is it possible that Internet access and even PCs are going to be
needed by everyone, including low-income people? I'm old enough to
remember when television was new and when middle-class people tsk-tsked at
seeing "poor people" spending their money on TV sets. At some point, the
need for TV access by everyone was acknowledged. I think this will happen
with Internet and PCs, also.

On Thu, 24 Aug 2000, Darryl Wiggers wrote:

> > There is good news to announce this issue... A survey of
> > Internet users in June found low-income families represent the fastest
> > growing online demographic... families making less than $25,000 a year
> > still represent only 10 percent of the online population.
> > Well, let's take our victories where we can...
>
> It's interesting that this news is viewed as "good news" and a victory.
Good
> news for who? A victory for who?
>
> Is it "good news" that poor families are being forced to spend what little
> money they have to join the "digital revolution"? Is it a victory that if
> they don't, they will surely stay poor? Locally, for example, politicians
> have been pushing the web as THE place to find employment. What they
didn't
> think about it that's there's a huge homeless population in Toronto who
> don't have jobs, hence, don't have the luxury of internet access.
> Consequently they've had to install computers in all their employment
> centres to accommodate those without. Even still, without a computer at
> home, and internet, it means waiting in line at the employment centre
every
> day to check their e-mail. Meanwhile, students -- on top of tuition and
> books -- are now virtually helpless unless they have a computer (which
means
> spending even more money). A few years ago I was stunned when some
> universities started listing computers as mandatory tools. Then there is
the
> cost of repairs, upgrades, software...
>
> A common response is the current low-cost of much of this technology.
Trust
> me, if you're making less than $25,000/year, low-cost takes on a new
> meaning. Food, clothes and rent take a huge bite. But today, in the year
> 2000, we have almost completely established a society that makes it
> mandatory to have a personal computer and internet access. Even a few
years
> ago we starting hearing about homeless people, living under bridges with
> nothing but a few scraps of clothes and a laptop. And this is what worries
> me about the current drive of libraries to build their "field of dreams"
> with DVDs. As long as the library is providing the equipment as well, that
> sounds marvelous. If not, it's kind of like scrapping public
transportation
> and expecting everyone to buy cars.
>
> Of course, our disposable western society depends on convincing consumers
> that they must constantly buy "newer" and "better" products. Obviously
even
> librarians seem convinced of this. Remember, we're only a few years away
> from HD-DVD...
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sr. Gilmary Speirs [mailto:speirs@MARYWOOD1.MARYWOOD.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 9:51 AM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: FW: Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic
>
>
> You might find this message relevant to the DVD discussion.
>
>
> **********************************************************
> Sr. Gilmary Speirs, I.H.M.
> Collection Management Librarian for Non-Print
> Marywood University
> 2300 Adams Avenue
> Scranton, PA 18509-1598
> E-mail: speirs@ac.marywood.edu
> Phone: (570) 348-6266
> Fax: (570) 961-4769
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
>
> >From Philanthropy News Journal...
> Dear reader,
>
> There is good news to announce this issue, and it's because the digital
> divide in America is slowly but surely beginning to close. A survey of
> Internet users in June found low-income families represent the fastest
> growing online demographic. That may be because most other demographic
> groups - meaning wealthier families - are generally on the Internet by
now,
> based on the fact families making less than $25,000 a year still represent

> only 10 percent of the online population.
> Well, let's take our victories where we can, because these numbers are
> likely to improve as American society in general moves to the Web. For the

> international digital divide, a lot of work remains.
>
> Poor families now fastest-growing Internet demographic
> Low-income households are now the fastest growing online demographic
> group, which means the digital divide is slowly closing. Overall,
> however, poor families account for less than 10 percent of the online
> population, according to a new report...
> http://pnnonline.org/technology/online0822.adp
>
>
> Peace,
>
> John Freund, C.M.
> 718 262 8826 718 262 8695 (fax)
> freundjb@stjohns.edu
>
> www.famvin.org and vincentian.stjohns.edu
>