OxIS 2019: Digital divides in Britain are narrowing but deepening

By | 19 January 2020

The existence of a ‘digital divide’ has been one of the key social issues of the Internet since its early diffusion at the turn of the twenty-first century. Over time, as access to the Internet has become increasingly central to everyday life, those without access to broadband infrastructures, digital devices, and Internet skills have been socially, politically and economically disadvantaged. Therefore, critical questions remain about levels of access and skills that shape who uses and does not use the Internet, why, and what difference this makes. This report summarizes recent broad changes in the digital divide in Britain. The digital divide has narrowed but about 15 percent of the British population remains offline. At the same time, those who are online have markedly intensified their use. They use more devices and do more online. The nuances of these trends are fleshed out using 23 graphics and accompanying commentary. In addition to fundamental demographic factors like age, education, income and literacy, we present data on the relationships between divides and variables such as gender, employment marital status, ethnicity, disability, urban/rural residence, social grade and children in the household.

The authors thank the OII; the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; Google Inc.; and BT, for their support of this survey.

To read this report, click on:
Digital Divides Report download