Staunton, April 29 – Earlier research has found that in Russia as in other countries, younger and more educated cohorts are more likely to be regular users of electronic media while older and less educated are likely to be less comfortable with that format. Now, a new HSE study shows that the real digital divide is between the largest cities and the rest.
In a research just presented at the 22nd April International Scientific Conference, HSE researchers report that 61.3 percent of residents of Russian cities with populations of more than a million and 56.3 percent of those in cities having between 500,000 and a million are computer competent (iq.hse.ru/news/465308186.html).
But residents of small settlements, ranging from cities under 500,000 to villages, had a much smaller rate of computer competence, with all of them having between 47 and 49 percent on that rating. Much of this difference is the product of differences in educational attainment, but it is striking that people in mall cities are no more computer competent than that of villages.
It may be that this reflects the greater propensity of village residents to turn to the Internet given the absence of other forms of information and entertainment that may be more widely available even in the smallest cities. But in most countries, residents of smaller cities do relatively better than in Russia.
As far as overall computer competence is concerned, Russia ranks 48th out of 134 countries around the world, but its regional distribution of internet use is more like those at the lower end of that ranking than it is among the leaders like Sweden, Denmark, Singapore, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, the US, Germany and the UK.