Immigrants use mobile technology more than the general US population, local research finds
According to a study by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, immigrants are “more robust and interactive users” of mobile technology than the general American population. They’re more likely to use their phone to do things like pay bills, video chat and upload photos (see chart above).
The Welcoming Center, a non-profit organization that strives to connect immigrants to business opportunities, conducted a survey of nearly 120 local immigrants from various parts of the world, asking them about their tech habits mobile and comparing their results to a Pew report.
Read the full report here [pdf].
Searcher Amanda Bergson-Shilcock said he conducted the study due to the lack of available data on immigrants and how they interact with mobile technology. She acknowledged the sample size was small, but said she worked with a statistician to only present results that were statistically salient and relevant. She hopes to expand her research, but that depends on funding opportunities, she said.
The story on mobile is that web-enabled phones serve as a digital divide intermediary for a variety of communities that are adopting personal computers and laptops at a rate below the national average: think black and Hispanic neighborhoods and to many low-income residents. While mobile access can bring people into the online conversation – hence the great explosion of apps – there are concerns about the effectiveness of mobile technology in delivering more robust media literacy and performing tasks more important like applying for jobs.
In short, as the world has 1 billion smartphone users, we are seeing growth at the national level for immigrants and other populations at risk of falling behind in a sluggish economy, but we don’t know exactly what the growth will be. long-term impact in the larger conversation about digital access.