Updated: Oct 13, 2020
It is a common myth that LGBT individuals are more affluent than the general population at large.
In fact, rural gays and lesbians often face poverty at higher rates than the general population. Furthermore, approximately 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT making them vastly overrepresented in the homeless population (LGBT individuals only make up about 4% of the general population).
As such, LGBT populations are especially vulnerable to being left behind and becoming victims of the digital divide (a term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access). Lack of affordable access to technology has been shown to have an impact on the social and economic opportunities of individuals and those with less access to technology are at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for jobs and education.
More generally, the FCC itself has stated that the Internet “is changing how we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy, ensure public safety, engage government, and access, organize and disseminate knowledge.” While many consumers understood the tremendous benefits that high-speed Internet could deliver, a sizeable number did not. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of consumers without a home Internet connection in 2010 did not see a “major disadvantage” in being disconnected. Today, however, opinions have shifted. Two-thirds of those without a home connection say they face a major disadvantage in many areas, including job searches, accessing health information or connecting with government services.<