American households with broadband Internet access increased to 68 percent in 2010 from 64 percent in 2009, according to a report from the Department of Commerce released Wednesday, Nov. 9.

However, the digital divide remains: Lower-income, rural and less educated households were less likely to have Internet access in the home.

The Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Wednesday, Nov. 9, released "Exploring the Digital Nation," a statistical analysis of broadband adoption in the U.S.

According to the report, only 57 percent of rural households have broadband Internet access, compared to 70 percent of urban households.

Low-income residences fared even worse than rural households. Of households with annual incomes of $25,000 or lower, only 43 percent had access to broadband. By comparison, 93 percent of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or higher had access.

Numbers also differed along race and ethnicity: Asian households (81 percent) white (72 percent), Hispanic (57 percent) and black (55 percent).

“Closing the broadband adoption gap is a priority because Americans increasingly need 21st century skills to succeed in today’s economy,” said Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in the report. “Today’s report provides a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of broadband adoption that will inform efforts to close the gap and promote America’s competiveness in the global economy.”

Of respondents without Internet access in their home, 47 percent said the top reason for not having Internet access was a lack of interest or need; 24 percent cited the cost; and 15 percent cited the lack of an adequate computer.

Data from the report was gathered from an Internet use supplement to the Current Population Survey of nearly 54,300 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010.

The full report can be accessed on the NTIA’s website.