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Seattle Tech Access Study hits a milestone with more than 4,000 Responders

a photo of 2 people behind a table
Andrea Alexander and Will Booth from Tribal Technology Training (T3) collecting surveys at our Seattle IT table at the UW Powwow. (photo by David Keyes) 

Almost 4200 residents completed the City of Seattle’s recent Technology Access and Adoption community survey. Thank you to all those residents. Your voice matters!

With their responses, we now have data to tell the story of how connected and technologically healthy we are as a community, and where challenges to equity remain. The Technology Access and Adoption survey was last completed in 2018, making the latest version the first to be completed since the Covid pandemic. The results will help us better understand more about how residents use and access the internet, computer and device ownership, digital skill levels, barriers to use, and support and training needed to help ensure all residents have the same opportunities.

Early indications are that the City of Seattle made progress on our goal of Internet for All with fewer households having no internet than in 2018. The survey also looked at differences by income and other demographics, issues of sufficient internet and devices, civic engagement, trust, privacy, and security. For the first time, we included questions about telehealth, screen size, and awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) internet discounts. This information will help guide City programs and be useful for others working on digital equity, community outreach and making investment decisions.

Seattle IT conducted the survey in eight languages through a combination of mail to a sample of 19,500 households, email to families at Seattle Public Schools, and a special sample of Native residents that will enable us to share the first-ever urban Native digital equity snapshot. We had a significantly more diverse group of residents to complete the survey than we’ve had since the first survey in 2000. Thanks to the impressive response, surveys were completed in all languages offered and Seattle IT received enough completed surveys from the Native community to have a statistically valid sample.

a photo of 5 men seated and posing for a photo
One of the in-person focus groups held in Spanish (photo by Kathleen Perez) 

To tell the full digital equity picture, the City worked with Inclusive Data to conduct focus groups with an additional 203 residents from 10 different population groups and multiple languages – in person and online. The Washington State Department of Commerce Broadband Office helped to fund these. The results will be brought together with the survey to provide a fuller picture of digital equity in our area and in different communities. The City pulled a couple initial findings about need for adequate screen size and training needs for use in a County report to inform State Digital Equity Plan priorities. Look for the final survey and focus group findings, along with the data sets, to be shared widely in late summer.

Special thanks are due to Andrea Alexander and Will Booth from Tribal Technology Training (T3), who partnered with Seattle IT to reach out to Native organizations and collect surveys at events like the UW Powwow. Kim Camara of Windz of Change Alliance also assisted.

Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) also partnered with Seattle IT to advise on the survey, enable distribution, and encourage participation. It takes a village to develop good questions and an outreach plan. Seattle IT deeply appreciates their efforts.

Thanks also go out to Brandon Lindsey and Lassana Magassa, along with others on our Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB), the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Elizabeth Iaukea at the Seattle Public Library and Stacey Wedlake from the University of Washington I-School.

Seattle IT looks forward to taking the information gathered as part of the Technology Access and Adoption survey and using it to make progress on an essential goal for the City of Seattle: digital equity in Seattle households.

a screen shot of several people having a video conference
A Vietnamese community online focus group with a mix of ages (photo by Kathleen Perez)