Twitter, Internet Increasingly Popular for Blacks

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STACY A. ANDERSON, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Young, college-educated and higher-income African Americans are just as likely as their white counterparts to use the Internet, and Twitter seems to be a favorite place in cyberspace, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

The report, released Monday, showed that about 72 percent of African Americans have either home broadband connection or a smartphone, or both. About 86 percent of black Internet users ages 18 to 29 have broadband access at home, about 88 percent are college graduates and about 91 percent earn at least $75,000 annually, Pew researchers said.

African Americans also tend to use Twitter more often than whites, Pew said, noting that 22 percent of blacks access the microblogging social networking site at high levels compared to 16 percent of whites. Confirming the phenomenon of “Black Twitter,” or the use of clever hashtags to spur dialogue on specific topics of interest to blacks, Pew noted that Twitter use rates are higher among young adults, with 40 percent for blacks and 28 percent for whites, and about 96 percent of blacks on Twitter are between 18 and 29 years old.

Overall, 73 percent of African American Internet users and 72 percent of white Internet users use Twitter, Pew said.

Blacks still trail whites when it comes to general Internet use, the report said. About 80 percent of blacks use the Internet compared to 87 percent of their white counterparts, the report said, and more whites have access to broadband service in their homes by about 12 percentage points compared to blacks.

The disparity widens as the population gets older: only 45 percent of African Americans ages 65 and older use the Internet compared to 63 percent of whites in that same age group. Internet use is also less common among blacks who have not attended college. Among blacks surveyed in the report who did not attend college, 63 percent use the internet, compared to 74 percent of whites.

Whites trump blacks by about five percentage points in use of tablet computers and e-readers as well. About 29 percent of African Americans own a tablet computer compared to 34 percent of whites, and about 21 percent of blacks own an e-reader compared to 26 percent of their white counterparts.

Blacks and whites are equally likely to own a cellphone or smartphone. About 92 percent of black adults and 90 percent of whites own a cellphone. Similarly, about 56 percent of blacks own a smartphone, while 53 percent of whites are smartphone owners.

The report is based on data that Princeton Survey Research Associates International collected between July and September 2013 from more than 6,000 adults ages 18 and older.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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