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New study reports Latinos are the fastest-growing group of Internet users

August 4, 2003 -- Latinos are getting on the Internet faster than other groups in the United States, but the disparity between the number of men versus women online is much greater than for other groups, according to a study released last week.

The percentage of Latinos using the Internet at least once per month has risen 25 percent since 2000, while the percentage of overall Internet users has inched up only 7.6 percent, the study from the University of California, Los Angeles found.

"Latinos are the fastest growing group" among Internet users, as well as the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, said Jeffrey Cole, director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy.

The study found that 59 percent of Latinos polled said they used the Internet from office, home, school or elsewhere, compared with 47 percent in 2000, Cole said. By contrast, 71 percent of all respondents use the Internet, compared with 66 percent three years ago.

African Americans are the second fastest growing group getting online, with a 22 percent jump since 2000, the study found.

"One thing that hasn't changed is the gender gap" between Latino men and Latina women online, Cole said.

Of the Latinos who said they use the Internet, 51 percent were women compared with 68 percent men, difference of 17 percentage points.

For Internet users overall, and Asians and African Americans, the difference between men and women using the Internet was four percentage points or less.

"A lot of it is cultural," Cole speculated. "It is possible that there are not as many Latinas in the workplace as (Latino) men."

For overall Internet users, 69 percent were women and 73 percent were men, a narrower margin.

For the annual study, the third the UCLA center has conducted, 2,000 people, including 240 Latinos, were questioned over the telephone. There is a 3-percent margin of error. 

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