Study shows wide disparity of internet connection between different neighborhoods

Photo credit Antonio Diaz/ Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A new study shows a wide disparity from neighborhood-to-neighborhood in how well Chicagoans are connected to the internet.

The University of Chicago study suggests fewer than 60 percent of people in the Burnside neighborhood on the South Side, for instance, are connected to high-speed internet while nearly 98 percent of people in the Loop are.

Associate Professor Nicole Marwell is one of the two principal investigators for the Internet Equity Initiative at the U of C and said one of the things that the pandemic showed was that the internet is no longer something we can consider a luxury.

“It’s something that everybody needed. If they needed to work from home, if they had kids that needed to attend school remotely. Internet was not an option.”

Professor Marwell said the statistics were from before the pandemic and came from the American Communities Survey.

She said that even though more people got connected to high-speed internet during the pandemic for work or school, the widespread gap continues because many people cannot afford it.

The Internet Equity Initiative is designed to provide government officials with information so that federal infrastructure dollars can be spent where needed.

The study found that neighborhoods like the Near North Side, Lincoln Park and Beverly are among those in which more than 90 percent of residents have high speed internet while neighborhoods like Burnside and West Englewood are closer to 60 percent.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Antonio Diaz/ Getty Images