Older Adults And Internet Usage: More Than 59% Seniors Are Online!

Internet usage has made life easier for everyone, but has it helped older adults? We will look at some older adults and internet usage statistics to understand whether the internet is really helping them better their lives

The Internet has become one of the vital tools for communication, entertainment, information, and various others. Today half of the global population has connected to the Internet. 

The stereotype is that older adults cannot use the Internet, do not understand technology, or do not want to spend online is widespread in our society. But is it true? Are there baby boomers on the Internet?

Older Adults and Internet Usage Statistics

Despite a few challenges and difficulties in learning new technologies, most older adults realize the benefits of using laptops, tablets, e-readers, and others. According to the Pew Research Center Survey, 59 percent of seniors above 65 years went online in 2013.

Some places still lack infrastructure, which is needed for sufficient internet penetration. A survey in 2019 found that China ranks first in having 854 million internet users, whereas the United States had 314 million internet users.

This article discusses older adults and internet usage statistics. So, you can continue reading the whole article for more information.

Internet Usage Among Older Adults

World

  • Only 7 percent of seniors above 65 years used the Internet all across the globe.8
  • Ten percent of older adults between 55-64 years used the Internet.8

United States

  • 99 percent of people aged 18-29 years used the Internet.1 
  • Ninety-six percent of people between 50 to 64 years used the Internet.1
  • Only 75 percent of adults above 65 years old used the Internet.

Older Adults and Social Media

  • Social media has become an important platform to find news and information. Additionally, you can connect with friends and your family members. Today 34 percent of older adults in America above 65 years aged use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.2
  • Only 17 percent of older adults above 80 years old use the Internet.2
  • The use of social networking is more common in American’s who have at least college experience or with household income above $50,000.2
Older Adults and Internet Usage Statistics

Older Adults And Smart Phone Usage

  • Eighty percent of older adults above 65 years own a cell phone of any kind.4
  • Forty-two percent of seniors above 65 years own a smartphone.4
  • Fifty-nine percent of seniors between ages 65-69 years own a smartphone, but that share falls to 49 percent in seniors aged 70-74 years.4
  • Fifty-eight percent of old adults above 80 years own a cell phone of any kind.4
  • Only 17 percent of seniors above 80 years old own a smartphone. It seems smartphones are still not as prevalent in octogenarians, but we can expect the trend to rise in the near future.4

You might like to read: Best iPad Apps For Seniors

Older Adults, Tablets And E-Reader Statistics

  • Nearly 32 percent of older adults above 65 years old say that they own tablet computers.3
  • 19 percent of older adults above 65 years say that they own E reader.3
  • Sixty-two percent of older adults earning $75,000 and above say that they own tablet computers.3

Internet Use And Broadband Adoption Among seniors

  • Sixty-seven percent of older adults above 65 years old say that they go online, but only 51 percent of senior adults above 65 years say that they have a high-speed internet connection at home.6
  • Only 28 percent of seniors above 80 years old say they have high-speed Internet at home.6
  • A study conducted by Older Adults Technology Services says that 22 million older adults in the United States lack broadband internet access at home.5
  • Forty percent of seniors could not access important online services from their homes during the pandemic.5
  • Forty-four percent of seniors above 80 years old say that they go online.6
  • Ninety-four percent of seniors with household income above $75,000 have any kind of internet and eighty-seven percent have high-speed Internet at home.6
Older Adults and Internet Usage Statistics

Confidence In Using Electronic Devices

Digital technology has transformed many people’s lives in communicating, getting news, and even loving. However, some barriers and challenges prevent older Americans from going online.

Despite these challenges, many seniors have a positive outlook about going online. Once seniors in America go online, they love it and engage deeply with the online activities.

One challenge many older adults face is that they don’t feel confident in engaging in various online activities on electronic devices like computers and smartphones.

  • For instance, According to the 2015 Pew Research Center Survey, 26 percent of internet users above 65 years old feel confident in doing online activities on electronic devices.9
  • Thirty-nine percent of seniors say they are somewhat confident in using the Internet on electronic devices. 9
  • Twenty-three percent of seniors say they were only a little confident in using the Internet in electronic devices to do various online activities.9
  • Eleven percent are not confident in using electronic devices to engage in necessary online activities.9

You might like to read: 9 Senior Focused Startups to Follow

Internet Usage of Older Adults Who Own Mobile Phones

  • Seventeen percent of seniors above 65 years old go online about once a day. Fifty-one percent are online several times a day. Eight percent of seniors are almost always online.11
  • Nearly 65 percent of Older adults above 65 years and who own a smartphone go online several times a day. Fourteen percent of seniors go online at least once a day. Twelve percent are almost always online.11
Older Adults and Internet Usage Statistics

Older Adults and Perceptions of Impact of Internet

  • Almost 58 percent of seniors above 65 years old say that technology has positively impacted society, whereas Four percent of seniors more than 65 years old say that technology has had an entirely negative effect on society.12
  • Data from 17,704 older adults in the California Health interview survey found that 40 percent of them used the Internet for health information.13
  • The research was done on internet usage and e-health literacy among seniors above 55 years old who were patients in clinics serving a low-income population. The participants include 200 minority and white adults.It was found that 106 participants used the Internet. 52 out of 106 participants had e-health literacy. EHealth literacy was associated with computer characteristics(medical information or health information sources).14

Older Adults And Reasons For Internet Usage

The Internet has become a part of the everyday life of many older adults. Seniors are a heterogeneous group which means they use the Internet for different purposes.

The researcher below is from data collected by the National Representative Internet Panel in the Netherlands. The panel members selected 1418 respondents above 65 years old who had access to the Internet.

  • It was found that 36.88 percent of respondents used the Internet for practical and financial purposes like searching for information, comparing products, and banking.15
  • 32.33 percent of seniors with a mean age of 73 years spend the smallest time on the Internet.15
  • 17.77 percent of seniors with mean age below 70 years used the Internet for various activities like watching T.V programs, downloading software, chatting, video calling, reading web-based magazines, and others. Those respondents spend the most time on the Internet.15
  • The cluster four respondents, i.e., 13.2 percent, were social users and used the Internet for gaming and social networking sites.15
Older Adults and Internet Usage Statistics

Wrap Up

We have come a long way in bringing older adults and technology closer. But there is still a need for improvement. 

For instance, the older the age group increases, the lower is the usage of smartphones and other internet access devices. It’s sad that only 17 percent of seniors above 80 years old use smartphones, whereas 58 percent of them use cell phones.

Well, we can only expect the number to go up from here. The young generation has adapted well to technology. So, when they grow old, the percentage of seniors using smartphones or the Internet will increase. 

We hope this information is useful in helping you understand information related to internet usage in older adults. If you have questions to ask, drop us a comment in the box below.

References

  1. • U.S. internet reach by age group 2021 | Statista
  2. Around a third of seniors report using social media | Pew Research Center
  3. Among seniors, roughly a third own tablets and a fifth own e-readers | Pew Research Center
  4. Roughly four-in-ten seniors are smartphone owners | Pew Research Center
  5. Report – Aging Connected
  6. Internet use and broadband adoption among seniors varies greatly by age, income and education | Pew Research Center
  7. Internet users, UK: 2018
  8. • Internet users by age worldwide | Statista
  9. Seniors are less confident when using electronic devices | Pew Research Center
  10. Roughly three-quarters of internet users ages 65 and up say they go online daily | Pew Research Center
  11. hMost seniors say technology has had a mostly positive effect on society | Pew Research Center
  12. Older Adults’ Internet Use for Health Information: Digital Divide by Race/Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status
  13. Older Adult Internet Use and eHealth Literacy
  14. Diversity in Older Adults’ Use of the Internet: Identifying Subgroups Through Latent Class Analysis