The Roles of Education and Literacy in the Digital Divide Among Middle-Aged Adults: Cross-National Evidence from the United States, Japan, and South Korea

Winter 2024


Digital Literacy

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Author(s): Takashi Yamashita, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Giyeon Kim, Chung-Ang University; Chih-Ling Liou, Kent State University; Takatoshi Ando, Yokohama National University; Anthony R. Bardo, University of Kentucky; Darren Liu, West Virginia University

For this research article, internationally representative data of middle-aged adults 45 – 65 years old [n(United States) = 2,150; n(Japan) = 2,318; n(South Korea) = 2,800] from the 2012 Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies were analyzed to examine the roles of education and literacy in relation to the digital divide. Results from survey-weighted binary logistic regressions showed that both educational attainment and literacy were positively associated with all four measures of information and communication technology (use of the computer, email, online information and transaction) use in all three countries. The middle-aged adults in the United States benefited more from the educational attainment than those in Japan, in terms of email and online information use. The middle-aged adults with lower education and basic skills (i.e., literacy) may benefit from the educational intervention and additional information and communication technology training, and in turn, improve the digital divide in later life, regardless of differences in culture and economy.

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