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Expand chart
Note: Income inequality is shown using the Gini Index — a measure of income distribution among a population. A value of 0 represents absolute equality; a value of 1 absolute inequality. Data: 2017 American Community Survey; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The internet has become a fundamental requirement of modern life. For those with comfortable incomes, living in cities or suburbs, connectivity and information can seem ubiquitous.

Reality check: According to a 2017 report from the Brookings Institution, less than one fifth of Americans live in a neighborhood where at least 80% of the residents have broadband.

  • Nearly one-in-five teens are sometimes unable to complete homework because of lack of a reliable computer or internet connection.
  • Local news and information is becoming scarce and hard to access. More than 500 newspapers have closed or merged in rural communities since 2004.

What's happening: This situation is the result of two types of “digital divide” operating today:

  • A geographic divide —in which rural and other areas are underserved because it doesn’t make financial sense for companies to invest in infrastructure.
  • An economic divide — where infrastructure is in place, but lower-income families lack affordable access and devices.

These divides are colliding and combining in troubling ways — creating a whole spectrum of education, information, and privacy inequality.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
15 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.