Economic distress measures—typically looking at unemployment and income levels—are used to inform planning and implementation around economic development and quality of life. However, a similar measure looking at digital inclusion does not exist. For this reason, we have developed a new metric called digital distress. Digital distress is defined as areas (tracts) that had a 1) high percent of homes with no internet access or accessing the internet only through cellular data and a 2) high percent of homes with no computing devices or relying only on mobile devices.
These variables were used because homes relying solely on cellular data or not subscribing to the internet are not benefiting from digital applications due to limited data plans and restricting internet access to outside the home. On the other hand, homes relying on mobile devices only or not owning computing devices make it harder to leverage digital applications due to smaller screens or no screens at all placing the home in digital distress.
Map below shows Indiana tracts categorized into low, moderate, and high (darker blue) digital distress. For more information on the methodology used to calculate digital distress, please contact us.