A new report from Pew Research group found some interesting statistics concerning internet and computer use by Americans. It might seem hard to believe, but a full 15% of the population does not use the internet and has no reliable access to it. Even more staggering was the group’s findings of how access and internet use is limited across ethnic lines, with one out of every five African-Americans having no contact with the internet, 18% of Hispanic adults having no internet activity, and 14% of Caucasians not active online.
Of course, age played a factor to some degree, with older Americans surveyed stating they had no use for it or had no idea how it worked and were too old to learn. At the same time, the study found that the more rural a person’s location, the less likely he was to have access and therefore use the internet. Price was also another deciding factor, with a significant number of participants pointing to funding as a reason they don’t have computer access.
While states around the US are working to correct that, one state, Tennessee, is offering grants to libraries to invest in new computers and software in order to increase the accessibility of technology access to citizens. This year, the Tennessee State Library and Archives is providing over $300,000 in grants to libraries that can match the funds from local sources. These grants must be used to buy computers and software for direct patron use and library services.
It’s for this very reason that software companies make their titles available through sites like FileHippo, even if they’re freemium or trial versions. Some top-name titles are available from reputable sources, including well-known software like Evernote, Metronomos, and Total Commander, all of which had updates released today. By increasing not only the availability of the technology but also a wide-range of readily available software, more and more users can find out what internet connectivity can do for them.