Note: A slide deck of charts relating to this report is available here.
Over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008.
Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).
About the Survey
The results of this survey are based on data from a series of telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International primarily between August 2006 and December 2008. For all results based on adult internet users, the margin of error is ±3%. For results based on teen internet users (ages 12-17), conducted in October-November, 2004, and October-November, 2006, the margin of error is ±4%. For results based on teen internet users, conducted in November 2007-February, 2008, the margin of error is ±3%. The margin of error for each generational subgroup shown in the table on page five and discussed throughout the report, however, can be considerably higher than that for the sample of all internet users.
For more information on generations, see the new Pew Research Center series exploring the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation. Learn more at www.pewresearch.org/millennials.