Internet Use Among Over-65s Has Increased By 22% In Six Years

over-65s stock

The Office For National Statistics recently conducted a survey looking at how internet use is correlated to various socio-demographic characteristics like sex, age, disability and geographical location.

The results found that for the first quarter of 2017, 89% of adults in the UK had recently used the internet in the last three months, up from 88% in 2016.

It also found that internet use among older generations is rapidly increasing, as more people aged 65 and over get access to the internet.

Internet use among people 65 and over is catching up with younger generations

In 2017, almost all adults (99%) aged 16-24 and 25-34 were recent internet users.

The ONS said since it started recording data in 2011, adults aged 75 and over have been the lowest users of the internet, with only 20% defined as recent internet users in 2011.

However, over the past six years, internet use among 65 to 74-year-olds has increased from 52% to 78% – closing the gap on the younger generations.

In addition to this, internet use among retired adults has increased by almost 22% since 2011 to 61% in 2017.

ONS data

Men are more likely to use the internet than woman

According to the ONS, the proportion of men who have used the internet in 2017 was 90%, compared to a slightly smaller percentage of 88% for women.

This is compared to the 2011 figures, which sat at 82% for men and 77% for women.

Despite this, there is still a high proportion of women (10.5%) who have never used the internet, compared with men at 7.8%.

But interestingly, the largest increase in the number of recent internet users was for women aged 75 years and over, which trebled from 0.3m in 2011 to just over 1m in 2017.

ONS data

Internet use by disabled adults

The ONS research also discovered that 97.1% of disabled adults aged 16 – 24 were recent internet users, compared to 99.5% who were not disabled.

In addition to this, of disabled adults aged 75 years and over, 34% were recent internet users, compared with 50% who were not disabled.

Overall, the number of disabled adults who had recently used the internet in the last three months of 2017 increased by 5% to 9m.

Adults who never have or no longer use the internet

In 2017, 4.8m adults had never used the internet before.

Just over half of this figure (2.6m) were aged 75 years and over.

Adults aged 75 years and over also had the highest rate of lapsed internet users at 7%, up from 5% in 2016.

This suggests that although more older adults did begin to use the internet, it did not necessarily mean they continued to use it, like younger generations.

Internet regional use

The study found that London has remained the region with the highest proportion of recent internet users in 2017 (93%) compared with other regions of the UK.

Northern Ireland was the region that had the largest increase in internet users since 2011, growing by 15%, but it still had the lowest proportion of recent internet users with 84%.

In both Scotland and Wales, 87% of adults were recent users.

ONS Data
Read more about the ONS research here.