For many people living in the United States the American Dream of upward economic mobility is more myth than reality. Those born into America’s lowest income levels are now likely to stay there, based on factors like race and ethnicity, geography and access to education.

In a society increasingly dependent on internet access for better health, education and opportunity, the absence of that resource—often in communities already facing challenges to economic mobility—make the possibility of a better future that
much more distant. More than 24 million people living in the U.S., including 19 million living in rural communities, do not have access to broadband internet and today’s youth will pay the price. The American dream is available to those with access and full of barriers for those without.

Understanding these forces and uncovering others that shape youth’s future economic opportunities is critical to 4-H’s mission of empowering all young people, therefore enabling greater economic mobility. The research presented was designed to give youth a voice on the digital divide and increase our knowledge about how it impacts young people’s current behaviors, attitudes,opportunities and beliefs about their future