Access to broadband isn’t just a rural issue!

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has highlighted McKinsey & Company’s recent survey of 25,000 Americans about their view of the future, the pandemic and their identity. The Twin Cities overall surveyed in slightly better shape that other areas but there was a disparity gap…

The racial disparities are particularly stark. Only 29% of Blacks in the Twin Cities region believe that most people can find good jobs — many fewer than among Black Americans as a whole (40%) or compared with their fellow Minnesotans (46%). Moreover, 56% of Blacks in the Twin Cities say their race hurt their job prospects, a level 15 percentage points higher than the national average and the highest of any city surveyed. Blacks and Hispanics in the Twin Cities were also much more likely to have lost income over the course of the pandemic; Blacks in particular were feeling much more vulnerable economically. Both groups cite affordable health insurance as a significant barrier to their well-being at much higher rates than the U.S. average.

Broadband was listed as a tool that could help lift people to a better place…

Across race, gender, income and education, COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequalities; it would be a shame if the emerging recovery resulted in more of the same. Improving racial and social equity is a national concern, but there is wide scope for local action. In the Twin Cities, many businesses have pledged to do more, and indeed the private sector here has a long track record of constructive civic action. But how? The survey offers some hints.

Looking specifically at Black Minnesotans, more than half said that lack of experience, training or education was a barrier to changing jobs — 23 points more than the national average; 57% were interested in training programs or acquiring new skills. They were much more likely than other Black Americans — and three times as likely as their white neighbors — to cite a lack of financial services as a problem, and also considerably more likely to say they cannot afford internet access. Providing training, expanding access to broadband and offering affordable financial services — these are all things where the private sector can lead.

Broadband levels the playing field whether you’re in Grand Portage or North Minneapolis.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN, Research and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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