January 13, 2010

Four in ten seniors go online

As of December 2009, 38% of U.S. adults age 65 and older go online, a significantly lower rate of internet adoption than the general population (74%) and even the next-oldest group (70% of adults age 50-64 years old go online).

In addition, just 26% of U.S. adults age 65 and older have home broadband access, compared with 56% of adults age 50-64 years old (and 60% of all adults).

As of December 2009, 38% of U.S. adults age 65 and older go online, a significantly lower rate of internet adoption than the general population (74%) and even the next-oldest group (70% of adults age 50-64 years old go online).

Older internet users are also likely to stay in the shallow end of the internet activities pool: email and search. A few pioneers have jumped into the social media deep end, but these seniors are the exception, not the rule.

And while the Pew Internet Project has found that mobile access is closing the gap between African Americans and whites, and mobile users are more likely to participate in social media, just 16% of U.S. adults age 65 and older go online wirelessly, via a laptop or handheld device. By contrast, 55% of all adults connect to the internet wirelessly.

All this could change if more older adults start carrying internet-enabled mobile devices, but for now, the majority of older adults remain offline and in the stationary media majority.