Bridges across the Racial Digital Divide: Residential Ecology of Internet Use


  • Eric Fong University of Toronto
  • Xingshan Cao University of Toronto



Our paper extends the study of residential ecology to understand social changes, specifically the adoption of Internet use. We suggest that the residential ecology of the metropolitan area, in addition to household socioeconomic factors, should be considered in understanding Internet use. The centripetal dimension of residential ecology, represented by residential isolation and the spatial concentration of the poor, and the centrifugal dimension of residential ecology, reflected by residential interaction of groups, are important to understanding the digital divide among racial groups. Based on the August 2000 Current Population Survey Computer and Internet Use Supplement, our results demonstrate that residential ecology is important to understanding the digital divide of groups, especially groups with low rates of Internet use, i.e., blacks and Hispanics. Implications are discussed.