The digital divide isn’t just a problem of big cities and rural townships. There are communities of all sizes throughout Northeast Ohio where more than one in four households has “zero broadband” — i.e., no home broadband subscription of any kind including smartphone access.
The region’s five biggest cities — Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Lorain and Youngstown — are on the list. But so are Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Ravenna, Conneaut, Elyria, Barberton and a dozen other smaller places.
Of course, each of these communities has an even higher percentage of households that lack normal “wireline” connections such as cable Internet, DSL or home fiber.
Last Thursday the U.S. Census released its 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. This is the main annual source of Census data for geographic units with fewer than 65,000 residents, including Census tracts, smaller cities, villages, townships, less populous counties, etc. Among many other topics, the American Community Survey (ACS) includes data on household Internet access.
CYC has reviewed the new ACS tables for cities, villages and “Census-designated places” in thirteen Northeast Ohio counties, from Lorain east to Ashtabula on the north, and Wayne to Columbiana on the south.
We found ninety-six communities in these counties with least 2,500 households. While some are located in more rural parts of the region, all but one is an incorporated city or village. (The exception is Portage Lakes in Portage County, just outside the city of Kent).
According to the ACS, twenty-three of those communities, ranging in size from Campbell and Portage Lakes to the city of Cleveland, had more than 25% of their households living without broadband Internet access of any kind, including mobile data plans.
Here’s CYC’s list of communities with the highest percentages of zero-broadband households in Northeast Ohio, according to the new American Community Survey. (Click to enlarge.)