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No. 73 Digital divide indices

Digital divide indices for gender, age, education and income (total EU-15; 1/97 until 5/02)

Digital divide indices for gender, age, education and income (NAS-10; 2003)

Bases: 1997, 2000: N=15,900, weighted by standard Eurobarometer country and EU-15 weights; 2002, 2003: all respondents, weighted percentages
Questions: 2002, 2003: IN1, IN3, Z19, Z21
Sources: 1997: Eurobarometer 47.0, Jan-Feb 1997; 2000: Eurobarometer 54, Oct-Nov 2000; 2002: SIBIS GPS 2002; 2003: SIBIS GPS-NAS 2003

The Digital Divide Index (DIDIX; for further information see Hüsing & Selhofer, The Digital Divide Index – A measure of social inequalities in the adoption of ICT.), a compound index comprised of four indices, measures diffusion of computer and Internet access and use amongst the four identified 'at risk' groups in relation to the population average. It provides a valuable insight regarding the picture at the EU level over time. The lower the Index value the more severe is the divide, with parity resulting in a value of 100. The picture differs for each of the at risk groups, illustrated by the values of corresponding indices. The gender divide has been steadily decreasing, with women improving their position in relation to men. The decrease in the age divide appears to be a more recent phenomenon, thus apparently reversing the initial trend exhibited for the 1997-2000 period. However, there has been no improvement regarding the education divide. Persistently, low levels of formal education appear to be the most significant reason behind low rates of participation in the Information Society. Likewise, the income divide has also been persisting, if not becoming even more relevant in this decade.
Having considered the above digital divide indices, it becomes apparent that, the (relative) digital divide overall, for the four at risk groups, at the EU level has remained static, with, on aggregate, no improvement over the last five years. Comparing NAS (for which only 2003 data are available) and EU countries it is apparent that the gender gap in the NAS is narrower whereas the other socio-economic determinants of ICT use are more severe.

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