Socio-Economic Status Classifications

For the purpose of this survey, “low income” refers to those respondents who report not having enough money to cover basic needs such as food and/or clothing. As such, this represents the poorest 67.8 percent of the population.

“Middle income” here refers to those respondents who said they could meet their basic needs, but could not save enough for large purchases such as refrigerators or televisions. This group represents 19.7 percent of the total population.

“High income” here refers to those respondents who report having disposable income sufficient to purchase some relatively expensive goods, such as refrigerators and televisions. This comprises the top 12 percent of Laotians surveyed.

Education Classifications

The education classification system used here stems from respondent answers to the survey question: “what is the highest level of education you have attained?”The designation “Primary” refers to those who have completed some or all of the elementary grade levels (32.9 percent of survey).

“Secondary/Technical” consists of those respondents (49.5 percent) who have completed some or all grade levels of secondary school or technical school.

"Post-Secondary” comprises those who have completed some or all technical training, university coursework or post-graduate coursework (30.4 percent).

Key Communications and Development Websites

World Health Organization Statistics- Nicaragua

Freedom House- Map of Freedom

World Bank Knowledge Economy Index- Nicaragua

WB Governance Matters 2009 Indicators- Nicaragua

UNESCO Education Statistics- Nicaragua

UNDP Human Development Report 2009- Nicaragua

Mobile Active- Nicaragua

Global Voices- Nicaragua

World Bank Doing Business Rankings 2010

Urban Nicaragua Socio-Economic Status

Socio-Economic Factors and Communication Consumption

Chart 1


  • Education and income are intertwining factors that significantly affect household technology access. Access differences between income groups (Chart 1) possess similar patterns to those that exist between education groups. Home ICT access increases with education and income levels, particularly for ICTs that require a regular income commitment such as cable TV, internet, and land lines.
  • The disparity in access between education groups is largely the result of how educational attainment influences income potential i.e. influencing the level of disposable income an individual can devote to gaining home access to media and communication technologies.

Internet and Mobile Communications

Chart 2


  • InterMedia’s survey data reveal that it is in the use of newer information and communication technologies such as mobile phones or the internet that large differences begin to emerge between education groups. Not only are these differences the result of income disparities but also lower levels of literacy and e-skills. According to the United Nations Development Programme, an estimated 22 percent of Nicaraguans above the age of 15 are illiterate.

Chart 3

  • Surprisingly, a majority of internet users are in the low-income bracket. However, 85 percent of these low-income internet users possess a secondary education or more. This illustrates the desperate economic reality that still exists in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
  • The revelation that such a large percentage of educated individuals use the web even though they reside in low-income households is a testament to the significance of the internet as a communication medium. In addition, it reveals the importance of internet cafés as cheap access points that expand the reach of an otherwise costly information and communication technology (Chart 3).

Chart 4


  • Income levels seemed to have little impact on how internet users use social networking websites. All users who accessed social networking websites tended to use them for keeping in touch with and sharing information with family and colleagues. Interestingly, education level does appear to influence one social networking activity: joining or participating in online groups. Only seven percent of social networking users with only a primary education reported joining or participating in these groups whereas 34 percent of university educated social networking users reported doing so.

  • According to InterMedia’s 2009 urban survey, education seemed to have a greater impact on mobile phone use than income. Better educated urban Nicaraguans were more likely to conduct different mobile activities than those people with only a primary education.
  • The substantial differences that do exist between income groups primarily reflect the fact that high-income users have greater access to better data services. Around a quarter of high-income mobile users said they were able to access the web through their phone.

Traditional Media: Radio, Television, and Newsprint

Chart 5


  • With the exception of newspaper readership, income and education do not seem to be significant factors in the rate of traditional media consumption. Low-income urban Nicaraguans are much less likely at 43 percent to read newspapers on a weekly basis compared to those with a university education, 63 percent. Weekly television viewership is nearly universal regardless of income or education level.
  • In addition, there was little difference in the ranking of which television stations were the most popular and important. Canal 10 was the most widely viewed, based on weekly viewership, and was listed as the most important and reliable TV station, followed by Canal 2.
  • Similarly, all education and income groups possessed comparable radio and newspaper rankings. The radio station La Nueva Radio Ya led in weekly listenership among all groups and was also listed as the most important and reliable radio station. The newspapers La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario led all newspapers in weekly readership and importance followed by the daily newspaper HOY.
  • Interestingly, HOY has become quite popular among youth and those less educated. Around 28 percent of newspaper readers who possess only a primary education listed HOY as their most important newspaper for news rivaling La Prensa at 32 percent and El Nuevo Diario at 31 percent.