Dear friends and colleagues,
In our recently released brief, One Year with COVID: Schools, there was an error in the sentence, “Before the pandemic, fully 28 percent of New Orleans households lacked Internet access at home.” This sentence has been restated as, “Before the pandemic, 20 percent of children under 18 in New Orleans households did not have access to a computer or broadband Internet connection at home.”1
The pandemic made clear the importance of Internet as an essential utility. Without a computer and broadband access at home, children did not have a reliable way to access online classes. Having access only to a smartphone greatly limits the ability to complete homework assignments, write papers, and learn new skills. Data is not available to show if households had multiple devices or if children had access to their own device, but it would be a necessity if more than one child was attending virtual school at the same time.
Beyond remote schooling, computer and Internet access are essential for job seeking and small business development. During the pandemic, Internet access has been critical for accessing vaccine appointments and the latest news about community efforts to reduce the spread of COVID. All in all, Internet access will be essential for community resilience in the face of any shock going forward.
In rural areas, there are often fewer broadband providers and slower Internet speeds. Across Louisiana only 64 percent of households have broadband access, compared to 73 percent nationwide.
To support efforts towards building resilience, The Data Center has published data and maps on households with broadband access for every parish across Louisiana on our Statewide COVID-19 Information page. As decisionmakers consider new investments in infrastructure, our parish-by-parish data and maps highlight those areas most in need of this essential support.
Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center Team
Rachel Weinstein, Ellen Kujawa, Katrina Andry, Erica Amrine, Allison Plyer, Thomas Wilson, Dabne Whitemore, Jenna Losh, Don Asay, Robby Habans, Lamar Gardere, and Cody Brumfield
1. ACS defined having “access to a computer” as having a desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or computer in the house. Access to an internet connection was defined as having a broadband internet subscription, included using a smartphone with a data plan. Households without a computer were not asked about internet access.