Science + Technology

Internet Use by Latinos Lower Than for Non-Latinos, but Online Use at Home Higher for Latinos, UCLA Study Reports


Fewer Latinos use the Internet compared tonon-Latinos, reports a new UCLA study on the use of the Internet by Latinos inthe United States. However, Latinos who use the Internet spend slightly moretime online than non-Latino users, and Latinos are online at home more oftenthan non-Latinos.

Thestudy, released July 31 by the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, also foundthat a much lower percentage of Latinos age 35 or older use the Internetcompared to non‑Latinos in the same age range. And, more Latino men thanwomen use the Internet.

The study reports that for Latino andnon-Latinos alike, concerns remain extremely high about online privacy andcredit card information when buying online.

"We identified several key issues about the useof the Internet by Latinos that make strong statements about how the Internetis affecting the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population," said JeffreyI. Cole, director of the center, a unit in The Anderson School that is alsoaffiliated with the UCLA College.

"Latinos express strong opinions about Internetaccess, trust of online information, their concerns about online privacy andcredit card security," Cole said.

UCLA Internet Project:Internet use by Latinos

Thefindings on Internet use by Latinos were developed from the UCLA InternetProject, the comprehensive, annual study conducted since 2000 by the UCLACenter for Communication Policy on the impact of online technology on America.Year Three of the UCLA Internet Report, was released Jan. 31. The full reporton Year Three can be downloaded at

This year, for the first time, the UCLA Internet Projectanalyzed the findings to explore responses to key questions by a specificsocial group: Internet users and non-users who identify themselves as Latino.The project developed data on key questions that focus on Internet use byLatinos, as well as opinions on issues including online privacy, the importanceof the Internet for information and entertainment, and the reliability andaccuracy of online information

TheUCLA Internet Project uses the definition of "Latino" created by the U.S.Census Bureau: all survey respondents who identify themselves as Spanish,Hispanic or Latino.

Interviewsare conducted in either English or Spanish.

"Exploringthe opinions of Latinos who are Internet users — as well as those who are non‑users— is critical as we build our understanding of how the Internet affects thepersonal lives of all Americans," Cole said.

Latinos and the Internet:Additional findings

Internet users by age

        Latinosin all age ranges use the Internet less than non-Latinos. Of Latinos age 34 oryounger, 71 percent use the Internet, compared to 90 percent of non-Latinos.

        OfLatinos age 35 and older, less than half (46 percent) use the Internet,compared to almost two-thirds (64 percent) of non-Latinos.

Internet use by gender

        Thereis a gap in Internet use between Latino men and women. More than two-thirds ofLatino men (68 percent) use the Internet, compared to slightly more than halfof Latino women (51 percent).

        Ofnon-Latinos, 74 percent of men and 71 percent of women use the Internet.

Internet non-users: Whenwill they go online?

        Alarge percentage of Latino non-users say they are likely to go online in thenext year. More than 60 percent of Latinos who are not Internet users say theyare likely to go online in the next year — this compared to 45 percent ofnon-Latino non-users.

The Internet: Importance asa source of information and entertainment

        Latinosuse the Internet as sources of both information and entertainment. However,while very high percentages of Latinos consider the Internet to be an importantsource of information, considerably fewer say the Internet is important forentertainment.

        Three-quartersof Latino users say that the Internet is either a "very important" or"extremely important" source of information for them — this compared to 60percent for non-Latinos.

        However,considerably fewer Latinos say the Internet is important for entertainment.Only about one-quarter (26 percent) of Latino users say the Internet is eithera very important or extremely important source of entertainment — about thesame as for non‑Latinos.

Information on the Internet:How much is reliable and accurate?

        LatinoInternet users are somewhat more trusting of the information they find onlinethan are non-Latinos.

        Sixty-threepercent ofLatino Internet users say that "most or all" information online is reliable andaccurate — this compared to 52 percent of non-Latinos who provided the sameresponse.

        However, more thanone-third (37 percent) of Latino Internet users say that "about half" "a smallportion,"or "none" of information online is reliable and accurate — compared to48 percent of non‑Latinos with the sameresponse.

Concerns about privacy whenbuying online

        Largenumbers of Latino Internet users are extremely concerned about their privacywhen or if they buy online.

        Morethan one-half of Latino Internet users (54 percent) are either "very concerned"or "extremely concerned" about their privacy when buying online.

        The percentage of LatinoInternet users who are extremely concerned about their online privacy is nearlytwice as large as the number of non-Latinos with the same response(40 percent Latinos vs. 22 percent non-Latinos).

Concerns about credit cardinformation when purchasing online

        Almostthree-quarters of adult Latino Internet users (74 percent) are "very concerned"or "extremely concerned" about their credit card information when buying online.

        More adult LatinoInternet users than adult non-Latino Internet users are extremely concernedabout their credit card information (46 percent Latinos vs. 32 percent non‑Latinos).

TheUCLA Internet Project: Background

The UCLA Internet Project provides a broad,year-to-year view of the impact of the Internet by examining the behavior andviews of Internet users and non-users. It also compares new users (less thanone year of experience) and very experienced users (six or more years ofexperience).

TheUCLA Internet Project studies more than 100 issues involving Internet use andnon‑usein five major subjects: Who is online and who is not, media use and trust,consumer behavior, communication patterns, and social effects.

This research is part of the World InternetProject, which was created and organized by the UCLA Center for CommunicationPolicy, and also includes similar studies in Europe, the Middle East, SouthAmerica and Asia.

The UCLA Internet Project is supported by publicfoundations and private companies, including the National Science Foundation,Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, America Online (AOL) Time Warner, Microsoft, Sony,Verizon, SBC, DirecTV and the National Cable Television Association.

To download the full text of the UCLA InternetReport, visit



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