Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians describes this report as "a first-of-its-kind portrait about mobile technology usage among immigrants." The report is based on a non-randomized sample of 118 adult immigrants in the Philadelphia area who responded to the Center's survey on cellphone use. Their responses were compared against data on general cellphone use in the U.S. as reported by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology finds that immigrants "have embraced mobile technology to an extraordinary degree." In some cases, immigrants arrive in the U.S. having greater familiarity with mobile technology than the average American. International calling and Skype usage are much greater among immigrants than the native-born but so are:
- texting (95% vs. 73%),
- online purchasing (35% vs. 20%),
- updating social media (65% vs. 59%),
- uploading videos or audios (47% vs. 22%), and
- uploading photos (62% vs. 22%).
The report provides many examples of how smartphones are used by immigrants to bolster small business ventures, often involving contacts with friends or relatives in other countries. Mobile technology also enables immigrants or their relatives abroad to participate in weddings, funerals, graduations, and other important events. In addition, immigrants are using their phones as "creative learning tools" helping them, for example, to master English. The report offers many provocative conclusions and implications from these findings. --Summary by Prof. Nick Montalto of Diversity Dynamics.
Get more from the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (2012). Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology. Philadelphia, PA: Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. Retrieved from https://www.welcomingcenter.org/sites/default/files/digital_diaspora_final_report_-_nov_2012.pdf