Why Are Half of Latin Americans Not Online? A Four-Country Study of Reasons for Internet Non-Adoption

Hernan Galperin


This article seeks to advance our understanding of the adoption barriers faced by the 250 million people age 15 and older in Latin America who are not regular Internet users. The data are sourced from large-scale household surveys in four countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. The empirical strategy is based on modeling the probability that nonadopters cite different reasons for nonsubscription and nonuse, conditional on demographic characteristics. In contrast to developed countries, the findings indicate that high costs and limited service availability continue to be key barriers to residential subscription and, to a lesser extent, individual use. However, the findings also suggest that human capital barriers related to lack of ICT skills and content relevance are important determinants of digital exclusion for specific groups, such as older adults and indigenous language speakers. In broader terms, the article corroborates the need to study barriers to Internet adoption in different country contexts and, perhaps more importantly, across socioeconomic groups.


digital inequality, Latin America, Internet nonusers, household survey

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