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High-Speed Internet Use in California Varies by Metro Area from 61.9 Percent to 88.5 Percent, Census Bureau Reports

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 13, 2014

High-Speed Internet Use in California Varies by Metro Area from 61.9 Percent to 88.5 Percent, Census Bureau Reports

Press Release Number CB14-R.36

About 80.5 percent of people in California reported home high-speed Internet use, according to a new report released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. However, rates varied within the state’s metro areas. San Jose had one of the highest rates of high-speed Internet use at 88.5 percent, while Visalia had one of the lowest rates at 61.9 percent.

These statistics on computer and Internet use are the first to become available from the American Community Survey. The report released today, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013, includes analysis of household computer ownership and Internet use by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, income and education, and covers areas of the country with populations larger than 65,000.

“Many states had metros with consistently high or low computer and high-speed Internet use, but other states were notable for having a mix of both high and low areas within their borders, often very near one another,” said Thom File, a Census Bureau sociologist. “One clear example of this is seen in California. State level results show high percentages of both computer and high-speed Internet use, but when we look at the state’s individual metro areas, a more nuanced picture emerges.”

While certain California metropolitan areas, such as those in the state’s Bay Area (including Napa, San Francisco and San Jose), had high percentages of both computer ownership and high-speed Internet use, other metropolitan areas in the state’s nearby Central Valley (including Bakersfield, Fresno, Hanford, Madera, Merced and Visalia) had significantly lower estimates on both indicators.

Bay Area Metropolitan Areas Computer Use Internet Use
Napa 94.2% 85.9%
San Francisco 93.4% 86.7%
San Jose 94.4% 88.5%

Central Valley Metropolitan Areas Computer Use Internet Use
Bakersfield 81.3% 70.6%
Fresno 82.3% 69.0%
Hanford 81.6% 70.2%

As part of the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act, Congress mandated that the Census Bureau begin asking about computer and Internet use in the 2013 American Community Survey. Federal agencies will use these statistics to measure the nationwide development of broadband networks and to allocate resources intended to increase access to broadband technologies, particularly among groups with traditionally low levels of access. State and local governments will use these statistics for similar purposes, and businesses and nonprofits will be able to better serve their communities as well.

About the American Community Survey

The American Community Survey is the only source of small area estimates for social and demographic characteristics. It gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results. Visit the Stats in Action page to see some examples.

Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation’s people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said [PDF] such information would allow Congress to “adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community,” and over the decades allow America “an opportunity of marking the progress of the society.”

These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households in the survey.


Note: Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons made in the reports have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted. Please consult the tables for specific margins of error. For more information, go to <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation.html>.

Changes in survey design from year to year can affect results. See <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/technical-documentation/table-and-geography-changes.2013.html> for more information on changes affecting the 2013 statistics. See <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data/2013.html> for guidance on comparing 2013 American Community Survey statistics with previous years and the 2010 Census.


Virginia Hyer
Public Information Office


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