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How's broadband use in your neighborhood? Interactive map

At-home broadband use correlates well with household income

April 13, 2012 02:10 PM ET

Do you live in a highly connected neighborhood? Or is broadband home use relatively rare, either because high-speed Internet access isn't available or people choose not to subscribe?

The Investigative Reporting Workshop analyzed data down to Census tract level (between 1,500 and 8,000 people) to see how broadband adoption rates compare. The Workshop also looked at demographic information, including median household income and poverty rates.

The results? At-home broadband correlates pretty strongly with household income: States with the top five percent of broadband home subscriptions had median household income of $59,000 or more, while states at the bottom were at $45,000 or below. Mississippi, where just 35% of households have broadband, has a median household income of $36,850, according to the Investigative Reporting Workshop and Center for Public Integrity.

The report defined broadband as speeds of at least 768 Kbps download and 200 Kbps upload -- the same definition the federal government used in an economic stimulus program to improve broadband penetration rates. Details about broadband come from connection rates reported by carriers to the FCC in 2010.

Four of the top five states -- all with at least 70% households with broadband -- were in the Northeast: Connecticut at number 2, New Jersey at 3, Massachusetts 4 and New Hampshire 5. The top state was Hawaii, according to the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The 5 states with lowest broadband penetration: Mississippi (35%), Arkanasas (43%), Alabama (47%), Tennessee (48%), West Virginia (49%) and Oklahoma (50%).

Overall, about 40% of U.S. households didn't have a broadband connection in 2010, said John Dunbar, one of the authors of the report for the Investigative Reporting Workshop. "

Several rural states showed significant improvements, with Alaska increasing its at-home broadband subscription 15 percentage points between 2008 and 2010, to 53%.

You can check out your neighborhood by typing an address into the Investigative Reporting Workshop's map below (posted with permission; Flash-enabled browser required). Or, see a larger version of the map at iwatchnews.org. Next: Urban vs. rural?

Map courtesy of American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop. Data available here.


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