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Shinyaeva O. V., Slepova O. M. Information Digital Inequality of Population: Risk and Anti-Risk Factors. Izvestiya of Saratov University. Sociology. Politology, 2019, vol. 19, iss. 1, pp. 53-61. DOI:

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Information Digital Inequality of Population: Risk and Anti-Risk Factors

The rapid development of new information and telecommunications technologies acquires the character a global information revolution exerting an increasing influence on politics, economics, management, finance, science, culture, and other spheres of society. Informatization gives impetus to integration processes in the society but at the same time, the processes of polarization of the population are intensifying. There is a danger of forming a new «information elite» as well as an increase in a certain stratum of people who are marginalized in relation to computer communication technologies. The purpose of the article is to identify risk and anti-risk factors of information and digital inequality of the population, to reveal social differences in the use of information and computer technologies. To do this, theoretical approaches of foreign and domestic sociologists on the essence of the information society, new criteria for stratification of the population, statistical data on the development of information technologies in Russian regions were used as well as the results of the author’s sociological research. The basic methods of data generalization and interpretation: theoretical interpretation of the conditions for the development of information and digital inequality, statistical analysis of digital readiness of regions, factor analysis of survey results were implemented. As a result, the factor model of information digital inequality of the population is developed, in which the structure of objective factors of societal and regional levels is described, and hierarchy of subjective determinants is constructed. The main risk factors, contributing to the emergence of information digital inequality, are the following: insufficiently developed domestic infrastructure, high cost of internet services, weak motivation and readiness of various groups of the population to use information and computer technologies. The antirisk factors include: the willingness of individuals to learn computer literacy, the development of federal and regional programs to build the competencies of the population in the field of information technology. In conclusion, the regularities between the state of the ICT infrastructure in geographical segments and the degree of development of computer technologies by residents; between the level of income, education, places of families’ residences and the nature of their information and digital activities are established. The new functions for social institutions that traditionally realize the tasks of education: the development of compensatory conditions that eliminate computer illiteracy in the main sectors of the economy and households are proposed.


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