Report

Older Adults and Technology Use

  • April 03, 2014

Six in ten seniors—59%—report using the internet. This is a six percentage point year-over-year increase from the 53% of older adults who went online at a similar point in 2012. Five years ago in May 2008, just 35% of older adults were internet users. However, usage rates among seniors still trail the population as a whole by a substantial margin, as some 86% of all U.S. adults now go online.

The story with broadband adoption is similar. Today 47% of seniors have a high-speed internet connection at home, up from the 39% of seniors with broadband in May 2012, but significantly below the current national broadband adoption rate of 70%. At the same time, broadband adoption among older adults has more than doubled over a five-year period: in May 2008 just 19% of seniors were broadband adopters.

Younger, higher-income, and more highly educated seniors use the internet and broadband at rates approaching the general population

Despite these low overall levels of usage as a group, certain portions of the senior population have internet and broadband adoption rates that are equal to—or in some cases greater than—rates among the general public. Three particular types of seniors tend to stand out in this regard:

  • Those in their mid-to late-60s—74% of seniors in the 65-69 age group go online, and 65% have broadband at home 
  • Higher-income seniors—Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, fully 90% go online and 82% have broadband at home. 
  • College graduates—87% of seniors with a college degree go online, and 76% are broadband adopters. 

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Read the full report at the Pew Research Center's Internet Project.