Internet access varies markedly within the region served by the Cleveland Fed, say Fed researchers
Access to the internet has become increasingly important for many aspects of our lives, including seeking employment, accessing financial services, and completing school work. A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland finds that internet access varies markedly within the region served by the Bank — Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. In particular, the study finds that low- and moderate-income census tracts in both urban and rural areas generally have fewer households with internet access than do higher-income census tracts.
Comparing the portions of the four states that lie within the Cleveland Fed’s district, the report’s authors, Shruthi Arvind and Kyle Fee, find that western Pennsylvania has the highest share of internet access among households. “Forty-one percent of the census tracts in western Pennsylvania have greater than 60 percent of households with internet access, compared to just 28 percent of Ohio’s tracts, 23 percent of the West Virginia panhandle tracts, and 18 percent of eastern Kentucky tracts,” say Arvind and Fee. “In fact,” say the researchers, “almost 30 percent of eastern Kentucky census tracts have internet penetration rates of less than 20 percent of households.”
Examining differences in internet access in the four most populous counties in the Fourth Federal Reserve District — Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Franklin, and Allegheny (which include the cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, respectively) — Arvind and Fee find that Allegheny County varies significantly from the other three. “Allegheny County has much higher levels of internet access than the other three counties,” say the researchers. “And unlike the other counties, levels of internet penetration are similar in urban and outlying areas.”
The researchers say greater support for investments in broadband and internet access is warranted in 9 of the 10 largest counties in the Fourth District.
Share of Households with Residential Internet Connections (over 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up) in the Fourth District, 2015
Suggested citation: Arvind, Shruthi, and Kyle Fee. “Broadband and High-speed Internet Access in the Fourth District,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, A Look Behind the Numbers: Vol. 7, Issue 2. December 8, 2016.
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.
The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.
Doug Campbell, email@example.com, 513.455.4479