Since the COVID-19 outbreak, large segments of the workforce and most of our educational platform have shifted to remote work and e-learning, respectively. To work and study remotely and effectively, reliable internet and broadband access is critical. But not everyone has this level of access. People and students in households with either no internet access or those relying solely on cellular data through mobile are in a difficult situation. With this public health crisis serving as an “exemplar” of these access problems (which often tend to be in rural areas) efforts to enhance broadband access may gain traction.
The interactive map below shows the percentage share of households that have internet and broadband access. The light color shade in the interactive map below indicates the areas where more than one out of six households don’t have an internet connection. As noted above, the absence of an internet connection can widen, or even create, an income gap and educational gap.
In the Metro Atlanta area, about one out of six households (15.3%) has no internet access. Spalding County had the highest share of households without home access to the internet, as one-third of households (33.3%) are not “wired”. Clayton County had the second smallest share of connected households, with about one out of four households (23.3%) lacking an internet connection. Internet access was highest in the Forsyth and Cherokee Counties, with only 7.4% and 8.2% of households, respectively, don’t have internet access, respectively. As with most socioeconomic variables, access levels conditions are generally better for households in the northern part of the region than for those in counties or areas south of I-20.
The map also shows the percentage share of workers in jobs that are normally housed in office space. These office jobs typically don’t require that work be done on-site, particularly during this pandemic period. As defined here, these office sectors include jobs in NAICS code 51 (Information), 52 (Finance and Insurance), 54 (Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services), and 55 (Management of Companies and Enterprises).
In Metro Atlanta, about one out of six (15.7% ) workers are in these office jobs. The percentage share of office jobs was highest in Forsyth County (26.9%) and Fulton County (26.5%), more than one out of four resident workers who live in the two counties works in the targeted office sectors. However, the percentage share of households lacking internet access in Fulton County (16.9%) was as more than twice as high as that of Forsyth County (7.4%). Also notable: only about one out of ten households in these office jobs in Spalding County (9.1%) and Clayton County (10.3%) hold these office jobs. Wotkers living in the northern part of the region are more likely to work in jobs where telecommuting is possible, just as households in the northern portion of the region are more likely to have access to broadband at home.[/fusion_text]
Internet and broadband access data: US Census American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year 2014-2018
Job data: Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) 2017, US Census Bureau