Not only do more than 90 percent of students with computers at home use them to complete school assignments, using a computer at home presents opportunities for “unpressured use,” allowing young people to increase their computer skills, research their own areas of interest, and engage in creative endeavors without time constraints.
Some lower-income students do have access to smartphones, but these devices do not serve as a substitute for a home computer. As Education Week points out, “While many high school students have smartphones, lower-income students who lack home access to high-speed Internet and computers struggle with the college admissions process and also in doing their homework, such as research for papers."
Unfortunately, the cost of laptops and desktops continue to represent an insurmountable barrier to ownership for lower income households. Over 34% of households with an annual income of $50,000 yearly (or less) do not have a computer in the home, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
The issue is more pronounced in New York City where 23.8% of all households do not have a computer in the home compared to 20.5% for the rest of the United States, according to a study published by the New York City's Comptroller's Office. Within NYC, the Bronx demonstrates the highest rate of households without a computer at 37%. The data also suggests that minority groups, specifically Black (41%) and Hispanic (29%), experience higher rates of homes without computers.