Technology Access and Adoption Study

Background and History

The City of Seattle believes that striving for digital equity and increasing access to technology improves the quality of life in our city. The Technology Access and Adoption study has been commissioned since 2000. The 2018 survey marks the fifth time this research has been conducted. These findings help the City of Seattle understand how Seattle residents use technology and the internet. The study also identifies barriers that prevent residents from utilizing digital technologies, which then informs the City's work to ensure access, services and resources necessary for all Seattle residents to thrive.

The results of this research effort provide a comprehensive view into Seattle residents' access and adoption of internet and technology. Key metrics are compared to the City of Seattle 2014 Information Technology and Adoption in Seattle Report as well as to the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) for Seattle on digital device ownership and adoption and internet connectivity. 

Though this is the fifth time this research has been conducted, 2018 brought about some important changes to the approach as well as the objectives and question lines. Past surveys also examined barriers, but the 2018 survey provides more depth to the analysis of connectivity levels, as well as attitudes, perceptions, frustrations, barriers, and skill level when it comes to digital engagement. The goal was to present a holistic view of digital engagement and explore not only adoption of devices and access percentages, but also the reasons for those levels of adoption. 


For the purposes of this study, the researchers have chosen to use the term digital engagement to characterize a level of involvement and capacity by individuals and households to use digital information and communications tools to perform daily activities, including civic and community participation.