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Philly Statistics

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  • David Butler
    The enclosed message was posted to Phila s UnivCity mailing list. Please respond to Neighborhoods Online-Philadelphia , but
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2006
      The enclosed message was posted to Phila's UnivCity mailing list.

      Please respond to Neighborhoods Online-Philadelphia <nolphiladelphia@yahoogroups.com>, but also copy Susan Jacobson <susanj@...> on your response, since I don't think she is a member of this list.

      Forwarded by Dave Butler, grant writer at Nonprofit Technology Resources.


      From: Susan Jacobson <susanj@...>
      Subject: [UC] Philly Statistics
      To: UnivCity@...
      Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 16:59:48 -0400 (EDT)
      Sender: owner-univcity@...
      Reply-To: Susan Jacobson <susanj@...>

      Hi there,

      I am looking for up-to-date statistics on Philadelphia on the following topics:

      * Homelessness
      * Literacy
      * Unemployment
      * Computer ownership

      I have been searching the phila.gov site, but can't seem to find these statistics.
      However, I know I have seen them referenced in several reports. Any thoughts
      about where to look?

      Susan Jacobson
      Department of Journalism
      Temple University
      You are receiving this because you are subscribed to the
      list named "UnivCity." To unsubscribe or for archive information, see


      Following is Dave Butler's response:

      Have you tried these?

      - the Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System <http://cml.upenn.edu/nis/>

      - Pew Internet Project <http://www.pewinternet.org/>

      - Philadelphia School District <http://www.philsch.k12.pa.us/>

      I would be very interested to see the results of your research.

      I'm posting your inquiry to the Philadelphia area Community Technology Centers mailing list, which is administered by my boss, Stan Pokras, Executive Director of Phila's Nonprofit Technology Resources (NTR) <http://www.ntronline.org/>.

      This low-traffic (5-10 messages weekly) list serves several hundred people working for, or interested in, Phila area computer centers. To join this list, visit the CTCNet Philadelphia list web site <http://mailman.dca.net/mailman/listinfo/ctcnet>. This is the local Philadelphia list for CTCNet <http://www.ctcnet.org>. CTCNet is a national association of community technology centers.

      I'm also posting your request to Neighborhoods Online-Philadelphia, "A Philadelphia announcement list for people involved in neighborhood, human service, and advocacy organizations" <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nolphiladelphia/>. For more than 10 years, this list has been one of the best resources for questions such as yours. This list is the brainchild of Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values <http://www.iscv.org>, 1218 Chestnut St., Rm. 702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 215-238-1434 edcivic@.... Also Check out Ed's "Neighborhoods Online" <http://www.neighborhoodsonline.net> and Philadelphia Neighborhoods Online <http://www.phillyneighborhoods.org>. Ed is the author of the 1996 book, "NetActivism: How Citizens Use the Internet" <http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/netactivism/noframes.html>.

      Several times over the past few years I have searched for stats relating to computer ownership, internet usage and effects on literacy for the Phila area, particularly among specific population segments -- low-income, youth, elderly, persons with disabilities, Hispanic, African-American, etc.

      In my capacity as a grant writer for NTR, I have been writing grant proposals to support free computer projects within NTR's Learning Through Technology (LTT) program. Most of these projects have supported children from low-income households. Some projects are specific to immigrant children or girls. We are also working to expand our coverage to older adults and persons with disabilities.

      We estimated computer ownership figures among Phila's students from low-income households by comparing a report from Philadelphia School District's Educational Technology Group with stats from the Pew Internet Project.

      Following are some of our analyses.


      A 2004 survey by the School District of Philadelphia found that 64% of school households citywide owned a computer, and that as few as 27% owned computers in some neighborhoods. Based upon these figures, we estimate that 36% of the 217,000 students currently enrolled – almost 80,000 students in nearly 40,000 households – do not have a computer at home.

      According to an October 2005 report, "Digital Divisions," from the Pew Internet and American Life Project <pewinternet.org>, "Surveys conducted in Spanish and English in October 2003 found that 37% of Hispanics (age 3 and older) have internet access, compared with 65% of non-Hispanic whites (also age 3 and older)."

      According to an April 2003 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project <pewinternet.org>, "38% of Americans with disabilities go online, compared to 58% of all Americans.... Americans with disabilities face unique challenges as they consider using the Internet, but they also can reap rewards for going online. The Internet offers the promise of greater connection to others, greater access to information, and potentially greater 'mobility' through virtual space. But currently, the people with disabilities are less connected than many other groups of Americans.... Fifty-six percent of people with a disability have or use a computer, compared to 72% of all Americans."

      The study continues, "While a disability may act as an obstacle for those wanting to go online, it can also be a motivation. The Internet can be an important resource for people who have difficulty leaving their homes. With information, shopping, and social resources available in their households, this lifeline can make the world more accessible for people with disabilities."

      According to a March 2004 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project <pewinternet.org>, "22% of Americans age 65 or older [about 8 million] reported having access to the Internet ... By contrast, 58% of Americans age 50-64, 75% of 30-49 year-olds, and 77% of 18-29 year-olds currently go online."

      Among the mostly African American and Latino population that makes up most of Philadelphia's low-income community, the problem is more acute. According to Pew Internet, "Just 11% of African Americans age 65 and over reported using the Internet in 2003, compared to 22% of senior whites.... African Americans as a group lag behind whites when it comes to Internet access, but the difference is most stark in the over-55 population. For example, in 2003, 83% of whites between 18-24 years-old had Internet access compared to 68% of African Americans in that age group. But while 58% of whites between 55-64 years-old have Internet access, just 22% of African Americans in that pre-retirement age group have access."

      The Pew Internet study goes on to describe the Internet habits of those older adults who are online, "Sixty-six percent of wired seniors have looked for health or medical information online ... Community learning centers can fill the gap left by the lack of family or friends willing or able to help. Philadelphia-based Generations on Line has developed step-by-step software designed specifically for those born between 1920 and 1929 and provides training at over 900 centers in 46 states and Canada. SeniorNet, another national organization which provides computer education and access for older adults, has 240 learning centers in the U.S. and abroad."


      NTR offers low-cost, refurbished computers through its Computer Thrift Store. One of our volunteers, wendy Harper, offers free computer workshops for low-income, older adults at the City of Phila's Older Adult Centers.

      NTR does not repair computers other than the ones that we distribute, but we do offer "Bring a Computer, Ask a Question" (BACAAQ) workshops for people who want to learn how to maintain their own computers.

      NTR does not offer free computers directly to individuals, but we do welcome inquiries from organizations seeking free computers for clients for whom they are providing ongoing technical training and support.

      For more info on NTR and its programs, phone 215-564-6686.

      Please address email to me at dave@..., since the address I use for the UnivCity mailing list receives a huge quantity of messages from many lists, and I don't read all of them.

      Dave Butler

      Dave Butler, Development Associate
      Nonprofit Technology Resources
      1524 Brandywine St Phila PA 19130-4003
      voice: 215-564-6686 fax: 215-564-6642
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