Asians Love Their Bandwidth

June 13, 2011

(This article was first published on Speaking Statistically, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I recently ran across some data from comScore networks. The data contains results from surveys from a number of households across the US with demographic information (ethnicity, household income, household size, state, zipcode, etc.) along with whether or not the household had broadband. This data is available for the years 2002, 2004, 2006-2010.

I thought it would be fun to go through and look for interesting results. The first thing I wanted to do was look at whether race played a factor in whether households had broadband or not. I controlled for income by only looking at households making $50,000+.

As you can see, the graph shows that a greater percentage of Asian households had broadband for the past 8 years when compared to African American and Caucasian households.
What could be the reason for this? Do Asian households really prefer having broadband internet?

Looking Beyond the Aggregate 

I know that broadband penetration depends on whether the area is rural or not, thus it seemed appropriate to look at broadband penetration in different regions in the US.
It looks like a greater percentage of people living in the West and North East portions of the U.S. have broadband. The West includes tech heavy areas in California, Washington, etc. and the North East includes major cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., etc. The South and North Central regions are more rural; this makes sense.
Now, what is the percentage of Asians in each of these geographical areas?
The West and North East regions have a higher percentage of Asian households than the North Central and South regions.
This means that Asian households, in aggregate, appear to have higher broadband penetration than Caucasian and African American households. However, this observation could be because Asian households are more frequent in areas with higher broadband penetration.
To test whether this region bias explains the higher broadband penetration among Asian households, let’s look at each region separately:

So we see that despite the regional biases, in each of the regions, it appears that Asians have higher broadband penetration. This seems to suggest that Asian households really like more bandwidth.

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