In 2019, Cleveland had the highest percentage of households without broadband Internet accounts of any U.S. city with 100,000 or more households, according to data released this morning by the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey (ACS). Almost 53,000 Cleveland households — 31% of the city’s total — lacked broadband subscriptions of any kind at any speed last year, including mobile data plans.
The new ACS data also shows that nearly 79,000 Cleveland households lacked “wireline” broadband connections in 2019 — i.e. cable modem, DSL or fiber Internet service. Cleveland’s 46% wireline non-connection rate was second only to Detroit among the nation’s big cities.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance has just released similar data for all 625 large and medium-sized cities (those with populations of 65,000 or more) for which the new 2019 ACS 1-Year Estimate provides information. Check it out here: The Worst Connected U.S. Cities of 2019. Among all those communities, Cleveland ranked 7th worst for households without broadband of any kind, and 16th worst for households without wireline connections.
Today’s ACS data, and very similar data that CYC has reported from previous ACS releases, underlines the barriers that face tens of thousands of Cleveland residents — especially the city’s poorer and older adults — trying to deal with the “new normal” of online work, education, medical care, financial and social relations created by COVID-19.