Comparing Digital Divides: Internet Access and Social Inequality in Canada and the United States

Authors

  • Philip N. Howard University of Washington
  • Laura Busch University of Washington
  • Penelope Sheets University of Washington

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2010v35n1a2192

Keywords:

Digital divide, Technology diffusion, Telecommunications policy, Canada, United States, Comparative methods, Gini coefficients

Abstract

Abstract: What is the best way to measure and track the digital divide, in a comparative manner, over time? What impact have differing policy interventions had on the digital divide in Canada and the United States? We offer a way of benchmarking equality in Internet access using Gini coefficients and demonstrate that overall the digital divide has been closing in both countries. We find that in terms of income, the digital divide in Canada has closed most dramatically, and that in terms of education, the digital divide remains most pronounced in the United States. We suggest that Canada has been more successful in reducing
the concentration of Internet access among wealthy educated populations, in part due to the active role of the state in supporting the production of culturally relevant digital content.

Résumé : Cette étude compare les représentations aux nouvelles des agences autochtones de bien-être de l'enfant avec celles d'autorités provinciales telles que le Ministry of Children and Family Development en Colombie-Britannique. La couverture médiatique d'incidents critiques impliquant des enfants sous la tutelle d'agences provinciales met généralement l'accent sur des problèmes systémiques tels que les coupures dans les programmes, le manque de ressources et les déficiences organisationnelles - des conditions sur lesquelles le travailleur social a peu de contrôle. En contraste, ces facteurs contextuels sont généralement absents des reportages sur les agences autochtones. La plupart des reportages et chroniques jettent plutôt le blâme sur le travailleur social et l'administrateur autochtones tout en mettant en question les compétences de l'intervenant autochtone en général. En revanche, les chroniques écrites par des autochtones soulèvent des questions structurelles et des facteurs contextuels qui sont absents des autres reportages.

Author Biographies

Philip N. Howard, University of Washington

Philip N. Howard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, 141 Communications Building, Box 353740, Seattle, Washington, 98195-3740.

Laura Busch, University of Washington

Laura Busch is a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, 102 Communications Building, Box 353740, Seattle, Washington, 98195-3740.

Penelope Sheets, University of Washington

Published

2010-02-05

Issue

Section

Articles