Why Access to Technology is Important
There is a huge disparity between socio-economic status and computer use among San Diego’s population:
- Economic barriers to technology in today’s society hinder the growth and development of low-income families and continuously widen the socioeconomic gap.
- Official San Diego County estimates suggest that 41.8% of public school students are from low-income families and 28% of San Diego families do not have a computer in their home.
- Of projected San Diego jobs with the highest anticipated growth (Business Services, Communications, Defense and Transportation Manufacturing, Medical Services and Software and Computer Services) all but 4 of 25 occupations analyzed will require computer skills.
- Based on the estimate of 13,974 City of San Diego residents that would not be able to enter into occupations that require computer skills, lost wage potential can amount to $366,635,838 annually based on the 2004 annual average entry-level wage of $26,237 for technology sector jobs.
- Over two-thirds of residents over the age of 25 in four communities within San Diego: Otay Mesa, Barrio Logan, San Ysidro, and Southeastern San Diego, only has a high school education or less. These communities also coincide with lowest levels of computer literacy.
- 6.5% of respondents within the city of San Diego are either uncomfortable or have no experience with computers in general and 7.9% of San Diego respondents are either uncomfortable or have no experience with the Internet in general.
- Of San Diegans who did not own a home computer, 29.6% indicated that they did not have access to a computer at all.
- Nearly 60% of low-income households do not have a working computer in the home.
- Roughly 1 in 3 Americans - nearly 100 million - still haven't adopted broadband at home.
Because children of low-income families rely primarily on their school computers and have no technological access at home, they are at a significant disadvantage compared to children with home computers and this limits the overall success of the family to compete in today’s technology driven market.
The connection between socio-economic status and computer use among San Diego’s population illustrates how lower income families struggle to stay competitive without technology. Economic barriers hinder the growth and development of low-income families and only widen the socio-economic gap.