Immigrants, English Ability and the Digital Divide

34 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2007

See all articles by Hiroshi Ono

Hiroshi Ono

Texas A&M University

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Agnes Scott College

Date Written: October 2007


This study examines the extent and causes of inequalities in information technology (IT) ownership and use between natives and immigrants in the U.S., focusing on the role of English ability. The results indicate that, during the period 1997-2003, immigrants were significantly less likely to have access to or use a computer and the Internet. Moreover, the gap in IT usage widened during that period. Immigrants (and natives) who live in Spanish-speaking households are less likely than individuals living in English-speaking households to have access to or use IT. Estimates using a measure of predicted English ability show that English ability is positively associated with IT access and use. The results suggest that much of the immigrant-native gap in IT usage is attributable to differences in English ability.

Keywords: information technology, immigrants, English ability

JEL Classification: J61, F22, O33

Suggested Citation

Ono, Hiroshi and Zavodny, Madeline, Immigrants, English Ability and the Digital Divide (October 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 3124, Available at SSRN:

Hiroshi Ono

Texas A&M University ( email )

Department of Sociology
College Station, TX 77843-4351
United States
979 458 3530 (Phone)

Madeline Zavodny (Contact Author)

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072

Agnes Scott College ( email )

United States

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