Across California, 1.6 million children live in homes without high-speed internet

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This digital divide—also described as the “homework gap”—spans statewide, but it disproportionately impacts children of color and those living in rural areas and in low-income families. Research shows that, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, middle and high school students who lack high-speed home internet access have poorer academic outcomes than their connected peers. These students have lower overall grade point averages, lower digital skills, and are less likely to attend college. Consequently, California policymakers must provide the resources and financial investments needed to ensure all California children have the high-speed internet access and devices necessary for educational success.  

Five Facts About California’s Homework Gap

  • 1. More than 1.6 million California children live in homes without high-speed internet access.

  • 2. California’s Latino children represent the largest group lacking access to high-speed home internet and devices, both in terms of percentage and shear number.

  • 3. More than 27 percent of families living in rural communities in California do not have high-speed home internet access, compared to about 18 percent each in urban areas and statewide.

  • 4. Equity gaps expand in rural areas. For example, statewide and in urban areas about 23 percent of Black households do not have high-speed home internet access. In rural areas, that percentage jumps to almost 40 percent.

  • 5. Among the lowest-income households—those that earn less than $25,000 annually—39 percent do not have high-speed home internet access.

California’s Homework Gap: State and County Data

Internet and Device Access in California by City and County

LocationPercentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet AccessNumber of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet AccessPercentage of Households Without a ComputerNumber of Children Without a Computer
Alameda County12.80%49,0106.50%24,854
Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne Counties30.80%10,4489.70%3,288
Butte County21.20%9,8446.00%2,783
City of Los Angeles21.90%170,55711.30%88,230
City of Sacramento16.40%62,0135.80%22,077
City and County of San Francisco14.10%16,3385.20%6,029
City of San Diego12.90%32,2616.40%16,024
Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Trinity Counties30.10%9,3266.80%2,114
Contra Costa County13.30%38,1107.20%20,747
Del Norte, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, and Siskiyou Counties34.70%9,45312.40%3,390
El Dorado County18.90%7,3805.10%1,989
Fresno County28.20%75,23314.40%38,312
Humboldt County33.80%9,5399.40%2,658
Imperial County—City of El Centro26.40%11,06114.50%6,055
Kern County31.30%71,31820.50%46,636
Kings County26.10%10,87716.60%6,915
Los Angeles County20.60%444,6748.90%191,797
Lake and Mendocino Counties30.80%8,51121.20%5,858
Madera County39.70%16,23921.30%8,707
Marin County12.40%7,3662.90%1,729
Merced County23.70%17,13417.20%12,409
Monterey County33.60%39,46322.80%26,729
Napa County21.50%5,8544.20%1,151
Nevada and Sierra Counties30.10%6,6671.60%356
Orange County14.40%100,8655.30%36,980
Placer County9.20%8,6812.10%1,950
Riverside County16.80%93,4477.00%38,623
San Bernadino County20.80%108,36710.50%54,738
San Joaquin County27.10%54,3858.70%17,412
San Mateo County10.50%17,6594.10%6,972
Santa Cruz County18.50%10,3505.10%2,855
Santa Barbara County20.80%19,4889.50%8,896
Santa Clara County10.20%46,2393.40%15,551
San Diego County12.20%89,9034.70%34,978
Shasta County28.90%12,0098.60%3,552
San Luis Obispo City and County22.80%11,2129.30%4,568
Solano County18.70%18,7155.80%5,821
Sonoma County14.40%8,7712.60%1,587
Stanislaus County22.60%30,70011.70%15,893
Sutter and Yuba Counties26.90%11,90516.90%7,501
Tulare County32.20%43,05022.00%29,374
Ventura County16.70%30,17410.10%18,197
Yolo County24.30%11,8207.30%3,544
Statewide18.80%1,663,6008.40%745,572
Nonmetropolitan “Rural” Locations27.50%80,33611.30%34,160
Metropolitan Locations18.40%1,583,2648.30%711,413

Internet and Device Access in California by Race and Ethnicity

Statewide

AllWhiteBlackLatinoAsianAmerican Indian/Alaska Native
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access18.8%17.8%23.0%25.9%10.6%24.1%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access1,663,600964,351122,1281,060,586136,56941,991
Percentage of Households Without a Computer8.4%7.6%12.3%14.1%2.6%10.3%
Number of Children Without a Computer745,572453,22567,038592,19133,54619,696

Nonmetropolitan “Rural” Locations

AllWhiteBlackLatinoAsianAmerican Indian/Alaska Native
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access27.5%27.9%37.1%31.7%11.5%46.0%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access80,33656,3054,69829,0014,4905,854
Percentage of Households Without a Computer11.3%11.4%15.8%19.6%14.6%14.3%
Number of Children Without a Computer34,16029,7922,02919,3361,7052,263

Metropolitan Locations

AllWhiteBlackLatinoAsianAmerican Indian/Alaska Native
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access18.4%17.1%22.4%25.9%10.6%20.7%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access1,583,264908,046117,4311,031,585132,07836,137
Percentage of Households Without a Computer8.3%7.3%12.3%14.1%2.7%10.0%
Number of Children Without a Computer711,413423,43365,009572,85531,84117,433

Internet and Device Access in California by Household Income

Statewide

All HouseholdsHouseholds with Annual Income Below $25,000Households with Annual Income Between $25,000 and $50,000Households with Annual Income Between $50,000 and $75,000Households with Annual Income Between $75,000 and $150,000Households with Annual Income Above $150,000
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access18.8%39.2%28.7%23.6%14.0%7.5%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access1,663,600375,258446,245308,132370,545163,420
Percentage of Households Without a Computer8.4%22.3%16.4%11.0%4.5%1.2%
Number of Children Without a Computer745,572212,501251,624140,279115,92025,248

Nonmetropolitan “Rural” Locations

All HouseholdsHouseholds with Annual Income Below $25,000Households with Annual Income Between $25,000 and $50,000Households with Annual Income Between $50,000 and $75,000Households with Annual Income Between $75,000 and $150,000Households with Annual Income Above $150,000
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access27.5%44.5%41.3%26.1%24.9%12.7%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access80,33616,27924,10310,57919,6249,751
Percentage of Households Without a Computer11.3%29.6%19.2%7.0%7.0%1.5%
Number of Children Without a Computer34,16011,06111,0455,0795,9281,047

Metropolitan Locations

All HouseholdsHouseholds with Annual Income Below $25,000Households with Annual Income Between $25,000 and $50,000Households with Annual Income Between $50,000 and $75,000Households with Annual Income Between $75,000 and $150,000Households with Annual Income Above $150,000
Percentage of Households Without High-Speed Home Internet Access18.4%39.0%28.0%23.5%13.4%7.2%
Number of Children Without High-Speed Home Internet Access1,583,264358,979422,141297,553350,921153,669
Percentage of Households Without a Computer8.3%21.9%16.2%11.2%4.4%1.2%
Number of Children Without a Computer711,413201,440240,579135,201109,99224,201