Note: PRECEDE is only compatible on desktop. Have feedback? Interested in collaborating?

Public Repository to Engage Community and Enhance Design Equity

Owns a Computer


The number of households within a predetermined area that own at least one type of computing device.

Context/Impact on Health

Digital technology has become ingrained in everyday life. The 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) report on national computer and internet use showed that among all households surveyed, 92% percent had at least one type of computer and 85% had a broadband internet subscription. This number has likely increased, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic increased reliance and acceptance of remote work and learning. Technology has become a significant factor in healthcare systems as well, with more services being provided remotely. Because of this, it may not be enough to simply own a computer to access healthcare, we must also increase digital health literacy so all populations can navigate health information online and access electronic medical records.

Excessive computer use is also tied to negative health implications. Sitting and staring at screens can cause physical symptoms like eye strain, back pain, and headaches. Too much screen time is also linked to physical and psychological problems in children. For instance, if children spend many hours each day on computers, they may be less physically active and at risk for childhood obesity. Research also shows links between screen time and behavioral and emotional issues in children, as well as declines in academic performance.

Data Collection Methodology

The ACS is a nationwide survey that collects information on the demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics of the US population. The ACS is an ongoing survey sent to 3.5 million addresses each year. The ACS provides estimates at the state, county, and census tract level on the percentage of households that have one or more types of computing devices.


Click here for References
  1. Own Computer Data Source: US Census Bureau. ACS: Own Computer. Data year 2019. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Benda NC, Veinot TC, Sieck CJ, Ancker JS. Broadband Internet Access Is a Social Determinant of Health!. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(8):1123-1125. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305784
  3. Lancaster C. Digital Redlining. In. NC State University: Institute for Emerging Issues. Published August 14, 2020. Accessed: November 27, 2023.
  4. Martin M. Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2018. ACS Reports. Published April 2021. Accessed October 18, 2023.
  5. McCloud RF, Okechukwu CA, Sorensen G, Viswanath K. Beyond access: barriers to internet health information seeking among the urban poor. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23(6):1053-1059. doi:10.1093/jamia/ocv204
  6. Novaković S, Sanja Milenković, Marijana Srećković, et al. Children’s Internet use and physical and psychosocial development. Frontiers in Public Health. 2023;11. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1163458
  7. Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub). Rural Health Literacy Toolkit: Improving Digital Health Literacy. Accessed October 18, 2023.