The Digital Divide Hits U.S. Immigrant Households Disproportionately during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The internet is a critical component of modern life, and never has that been clearer than during the COVID-19 pandemic, where online connectivity has proven an essential lifeline to telework, distance learning, telemedicine, and relationships with relatives and friends. In the United States, 87 percent of adults said they considered the web to be important or essential for them during the outbreak. Yet neither access to the internet nor vulnerability to the coronavirus is spread equally. Immigrants are over-represented in frontline pandemic-response occupations such as doctors, home health aides, and grocery store workers, leaving them more exposed to the disease. Meanwhile, the foreign-born also make up a disproportionately large share of groups with lower levels of digital skills. As such, questions surrounding digital inclusion and a push for digital equity have come to the fore, especially for populations that have been disproportionately hit during this public-health crisis.
This article outlines available data on immigrants’ digital access and digital literacy skills in the United States and examines the essential nature of these digital tools and experiences with them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cherewka, A. (2020, September 3). The Digital Divide Hits U.S. Immigrant Households Disproportionately during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/digital-divide-hits-us-immigrant-households-during-covid-19