Dec 1, 2018

2. Special report: The 4 new digital divides

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.

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Household income stagnates as home prices soar

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Despite a robust economy and low unemployment, household income hasn't changed much in the past 20 years.

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019

Americans are moving less

Data: Census 2019 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Fewer than 10% of Americans moved to new places in the 2018-2019 year, the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began tracking domestic relocations in 1947.

Why it matters: Despite a strong economy, more people are feeling locked in place. Young adults, who have historically been the most mobile, are staying put these days thanks to housing and job limitations. So are aging adults who are reluctant to (or can't afford to) make a move.

India shuts down internet as protests over citizenship bill continue

Photo: Biju Boro/AFP via Getty Images

The Indian government has blocked phone and mobile internet service in parts of the country where protests persist over the country's new citizenship law that excludes Muslims, AP reports.

The big picture: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government suggests temporary blackouts help to maintain law and order, has suspended internet access more than 100 times so far this year, AP notes. The internet has been down in the city of Aligarh for six straight days as of Saturday, and the heavily student-run protests have turned violent as well.

Go deeperArrowDec 21, 2019