Digital inequality: A comparative survey study between income poor and non-income poor people by Prof. Koen Ponnet, Sarah Anrijs and Prof. Lieven De Marez

(14-10-2020) This report compares the ICT-possession and difficulties in using ICTs between income poor and non-income poor people.

Vulnerable groups, such as income poor people, are often underrepresented in general survey studies, which results in a lack of knowledge on their ICT-possession and skills. However, this knowledge is crucial when digitizing public and commercial services and administrations.

The findings in this report demonstrate that compared to non-income poor people, significantly more income poor people do not have a desktop, laptop or tablet, and internet connection at home because of financial constraints. Furthermore, significantly more income poor people experience difficulties in using a computer or smartphone in general, as well as to reach basic needs online - such as looking for a job, applying for financial benefits, or finding important information -, than non-income poor people.

 

Download the full report here (only in Dutch)

Main findings:

  • 20.7% of income poor people do not have a desktop, laptop or tablet at home because they cannot afford it. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was 2.1%
  • 15.5% of income poor people do not have an internet connection at home because they cannot afford it, while none of the non-income poor people indicated this reason
  • About 30% of income poor people often experience problems or questions by using a computer or smartphone in general. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was approximately 7%
  • About 40% of income poor people are unable to solve problems and questions themselves when using a computer or smartphone, and needs support when trying something new. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was approximately 15%
  • About 40% of income poor people experience difficulties to look for a job online, i.e., finding job vacancies, applying for a job or registering as unemployed. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was approximately 10%
  • About 40% of income poor people experience difficulties to apply for financial compensations online, i.e., applying for a benefit or premium from the government. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was approximately 20%
  • About 30% of income poor people experience difficulties to find important information online, i.e., finding information about social services, assurances, and gas, water or electricity. Within the sample of non-income poor people, this was approximately 10%

 

More information? Contact Prof. Koen Ponnet or Sarah Anrijs