After years of little or no growth in the number of senior citizens who use the Internet, a new Pew study is reporting that more than half of all seniors in the US now access the Internet. In fact, 53%
The new Pew survey reporting usage among seniors follows a recently released report demonstrating that 66% of Americans have broadband connections at home (up from a mere 4% access rate in February 2001). The earlier report was focused on how the type of connection users had affected Internet usage. According to the results released with that report:
*70% of whites and roughly half of African Americans (54%) and Hispanics (51%) have high-speed internet access at home, according to the data collected this spring.
*In contrast to the population as a whole, broadband adoption among African-Americans grew significantly between 2009 and 2010.
*Men (66%) are just as likely as women (66%) to have home broadband.
The Pew report inferred that having broadband strongly affected how the Internet was used. Back in 2002 the Pew survey found that dial-up users took part in an average of 3 online activities per day, while broadband users took part in 7.
In 2010, Pew found that one-third of broadband users subscribe to a premium service, and the average broadband subscriber paid $41.18 per month for service
While noting the increasingly large numbers of broadband adopters, expanding affordable high-speed broadband service was generally seen as a low government priority. One in ten Americans (11%) said it should be a “top priority” while three in ten (30%) felt that it was “important, but a lower priority”. Twenty-five percent each said federal promotion of broadband expansion is “not too important” (27%) or “should not be done” (26%).
Earlier Pew surveys found that roughly one in five American adults (18%) do not use the Internet. Those least likely to have Internet access includes senior citizens and adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year
The Pew Internet senior study reported an overall rate of 82% of all American adults 18 years and older who use the Internet or email at least "occasionally," while 67% do so on a typical day.
While overall Internet usage among seniors continues to climb, use of broadband drops significantly after age 75, according to the report. Among all age groups, broadband adoption is lowest among the so-called "G.I. Generation." While overall broadband adoption in the United States varies between 64-68%, adoption among those over 75 years of age lingers at 34%.
Not surprisingly, as the broadband adoption rate for seniors in general continues to climb, overall use of technology is also increasing. The percentage of seniors who own a cell phone has increased from 57% two years ago, to 70% in the most recent report.
Use of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn by seniors has increased to 34%. By comparison, from April 2009 to May 2011, social networking site use among Internet users ages 65 and older grew 150%, from 13% in 2009 to 33% in 2011. In fact, 18% of seniors use social networking on a typical day. Among all adult internet users, 66% use social networking sites, with 48% of adult internet users making use of these sites on a typical day.
Use of email continues to be the primary means of online communications for seniors. As of August 2011, 86% of internet users ages 65 and older use email, with 48% doing so on a typical day. Among all adult Internet users, 91% use email, with 59% doing so on a typical day.