16% of Minneapolis is not online

City of Minneapolis 2012 Community Technology SurveyThe City of Minneapolis IT department recently published results of the second annual Community Technology Survey, providing a comprehensive glimpse of technology adoption metrics throughout Minneapolis.

A ten point questionnaire was sent to 12,000 randomly sampled households with a return rate of 26% (3,200); the survey gathered data about residents’ access to and experiences with computers, mobile devices and the Internet, in addition to demographic data.

The $50k R&D initiative is part of  the City’s vision to (a) gain public trust (b) empower workforce (c) digitize city and (d) close the digital divide.

The results offers a unique glimpse into the technology characteristics of Minneapolis, from email usage to job hunting, online publishing, and even coding a software application.  Top line digital divide metric indicates that of Minneapolis’ 165,000 total residences, 16%  (26,580) –  do not have Internet access at all – be it via broadband connection or mobile device.  That figure is notably down 2% from last years figures.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • More mobile access is the biggest change between 2012 and 2013:  While ownership of Internet-enabled computers varied greatly across the City, ownership of Internet-enabled mobile phones is higher in 2013 – even among those households least likely to own a computer.
  • Of Minneapolis adults over the age of 45, women were much more likely than men to have cell phones with the ability to access the Internet.
  • Overall, nearly 88% of respondents reported that having a computer and Internet at home was essential or very important. Importance was ranked lowest among residents in Camden and Phillips, and respondents who had lived in Minneapolis for less than six years were more likely to view having a computer and Internet access in their home as essential.
  • Only 65% of Black/African American respondents have a computer with Internet at home, compared to 90% of whites.
  • 40% of unemployed respondents looking for work don’t have a computer with Internet at home.
  • Residents of households with children were more likely to evaluate having computers and Internet access at home as essential or very important. Overall, 16% of households with children don’t have a computer with Internet at home. Among the respondents with children in their household who reported their race on the survey, whites are far more likely to have access at home (95%) compared to people of color (73%).
  • Looking at the distribution of high-level users across communities, Calhoun Isles, Southwest and University had the most high-level users, while Near North, Phillips, Camden and Central had the most non-users.

“Access to computers and the Internet, along with the skills to use these tools is critical as technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives. At a minimum, we’d like to see 90% of the city embracing technology by 2015. And by then it will no longer be sufficient to be online, it will be about how productive and proficient one can be with it,” says Otto Doll, the CIO of Minneapolis.

You might be wondering…where does Minneapolis fall in relation to its twin city of St. Paul? No one knows, because St. Paul isn’t even trying to figure that out yet.