Data & Research

Conduct, support and promote data-gathering and research that can inform public understanding, public policy and community strategies related to digital inclusion and equity.

Definitions of Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion 

Shortly after NDIA launched, a working group of digital inclusion practitioners discussed (at length) how to define Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion. The definitions were then reviewed, edited and approved by the NDIA community. 

 

Worst Connected Cities

In about one-fourth of the nation’s large and medium-sized cities, more than a third of all households still didn’t have a wireline broadband Internet connection. They were 2018’s Worst Connected Cities. We provide the data in a sortable, searchable table.

 

Home Internet Maps

To help communities across the country take advantage of the Census’ data on home internet subscriptions,  NDIA created a series of maps, covering more than 65,000 occupied Census tracts in the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

 

Broadband Research Base

A tagged collection of reports, studies and journal articles that address the impact of broadband and digital inclusion on community and individual well-being. Searchable by title, keyword, broad category (e.g. “Economy”) or more specific subcategory (e.g. “Migration”), geographic focus, or one of several “digital inclusion tags” (broadband availability, broadband adoption, broadband speed, broadband affordability, digital literacy). Every reference includes a link to the publication itself.

 

Data Sources

U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey is the U.S. Census’ annual large-scale survey of U.S. households for all kinds of social, demographic, economic and housing information. Since 2013 the ACS has included a series of questions on household computer ownership and internet access (referring to actual connections, not just availability). The data gathered through these questions is published in a series of standard Tables that include S2801, S2802, B28002 through B28011, and K202801. 

ACS data is published each year in two stages: 

  • The ACS 1-Year Estimates, which include only data gathered the previous year and report details only for geographic entities with 65,000 or more residents;  and 
  • the ACS 5-Year Estimates, which provide statistically combined data from the previous five years, for a much wider range of geographies including Census tracts, lower-population towns and counties, etc.

The ACS Tables with computer and internet access data have been part of the 1-Year Estimates since the 2013 data release (in 2014), but were included in the 5-Year Estimates for the first time in the 2017 data release (in 2018). This means we’ve had access to this data for larger cities and counties (above 65,000 residents) as well as bigger geographies every year since 2014, but only one year of data so far (2017) for Census tracts, smaller communities and counties. 

In 2019 the Census changed the way the public can access its data, including the ACS. The old Census data portal, called American Factfinder, has been replaced by data.census.gov. The ACS 1-Year and 5-Year Estimates for 2018 are only available by way of the new portal, and America Factfinder is scheduled to disappear completely on July 1, 2020.

U.S. Census Current Population Survey (CPS): Computer and Internet Use

The Census also periodically gathers household survey information on computer and Internet ownership and use through its national Current Population Survey. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) collaborates with the Census in this effort and publishes the results at its Digital Nation Data Explorer site. This is statewide and nationwide data only.

Federal Communications Commission Form 477 data

The FCC collects a variety of data from Internet Service Providers every six months through its mandatory Form 477 reporting process. A year or more after each reporting period, the FCC publishes localized Form 477 information on its website, in two forms: 

  • Census Tract Data on Internet Access Services.  Via online maps and a downloadable csv file, the FCC classifies each Census tract by its number of reported “fixed” home broadband subscriptions, per thousand households, that exceeded certain benchmark download speeds (currently 200 kbps and 10 Mbps). The classifications are by quintile; i.e. 0 to 199 subscriptions per 1,000 households, 200 to 399, 400 to 599, etc. 
  • Broadband Deployment Data. The FCC provides data for each Census block on the maximum  advertised download and upload speeds reported by each provider and each fixed broadband technology for any address in the block. This data is available for various geographies, providers, technologies and speeds via an interactive map, a visualization portal, and large state raw data files for download. 

And be sure to check out Pew Internet Research, the longest-running consistent source of rich national survey information on Americans’ attitudes and practices on digital topics, including adoption and use of computing devices and the Internet.