Race, place, and information technology

Karen Mossberger, Caroline Tolbert, Michele Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Technology inequalities based on race and ethnicity present a paradox. African-Americans and Latinos have lower rates of access and skill, even controlling for socioeconomic factors. Yet African-Americans, and to a lesser extent, Latinos, also have more positive attitudes toward information technology than similarly situated whites. Because attitudes cannot explain lower rates of access and skill, we hypothesize that racial segregation and concentrated poverty have restricted opportunities to learn about and use technology. Using hierarchical linear modeling and multilevel data to control for both community-level socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and individual-level factors, we find that disparities among African-Americans are due to place effects rather than race. Ethnicity still exercises an independent influence for Latinos. These findings contribute to our understanding of the "digital divide," and to research on the effects of concentrated poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-620
Number of pages38
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Concentrated poverty
  • Digital divide
  • Information technology
  • Race
  • Racial segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Race, place, and information technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this