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Study Finds Minorities Are More Likely to Own Smartphones

David Paul Morris, Getty Images

Pop quiz: among whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics, which are the least likely to own a smartphone?

If you said “whites,” go to the head of the class — because you’re right.

According to Nielsen’s latest Mobile Insights study of US mobile subscribers, whites are the only group more likely to own an old-school “feature phone” than a smartphone like an iPhone or Droid.

Demographically, two-thirds of Asian-American mobile subscribers own smartphones, followed by 57 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of blacks — while only 45 percent of whites do. This backs up other studies showing blacks and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to make purchases on their phones.

As more Americans shift from using the internet on their computers to using it on their mobile devices, this new data could mean the racial aspect of the so-called “digital divide” is closing. Although research has shown whites are more likely to have internet access, that work only took into account computers and laptops — and since smartphones are less expensive to buy, more lower-income people could have internet access than previously thought.


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