A Rutgers-Eagleton and Fairleigh Dickinson University survey of New Jersey adults finds access to computers and wireless devices is widespread with little evidence of a digital divide. And Democrats, more than Republicans, are apt to use their connectivity to express themselves politically, according to a poll released Thursday.
Ninety-seven percent of New Jerseyans live in a household with access to the internet, according to the poll. Almost 75 percent of New Jerseyans live in a household with three or four devices capable of accessing the internet.
Access to technology is mostly widespread, but there are some small demographic differences, according to the poll.
Smartphones are slightly less common among white residents at 88 percent than they are among black residents at 92 percent, Hispanic residents at 96 percent, or residents of another race or ethnicity at 98 percent, according to the poll. Residents aged 65 years or older are significantly less likely (74 percent) to own a smartphone than younger residents, according to the poll. Ownership of a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or other device is also more likely in higher income brackets.
“There are some big implications for access to technology,” Krista Jenkins, professor of government at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll said. “Internet access provides opportunities for staying connected and informed about what’s going on in your community and world around you.”
“The fact that we don’t see big disparities across race, education, and the other usual suspects that often divide us into the haves and have nots is a good thing,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Nevertheless, technological divides may be persistent elsewhere that are not visible in these results – such as when it comes to type and speed of internet access, as well as device quality.”