Only 38% of US adults age 65+ are online––a significantly lower rate of Internet adoption than both the general population (74%) and the next-oldest group, adults age 50-64 (70%), according to research from Pew Internet.
In addition, just 26% of US adults age 65+ have home broadband access, compared with 56% of adults age 50-64 and 60% of all adults.
Older Internet users are more likely to stick with the basics: email and search. Although some seniors use social media, those who do are the exception, not the rule, according to Pew.
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Signs of Changing Times
However, in the last five years, the number of seniors actively using the Internet has increased 55%–– from 11.3 million in November 2004 to 17.5 million in November 2009, according to a survey from Nielsen.
Among those 65+, the growth of the number of women online has outpaced the growth of the number of men online by 6 percentage points over the same period.
Among online visitors 65+, 88.6% cite checking their personal email as the top online activity, followed by viewing or printing online maps (68.6%) and checking weather online (60.1%).
In addition, the number of unique visitors who are 65+ on social networking and blog sites has increased 53% in the last two years alone. Some 8.2% of all social network and blog visitors are over 65 years old, just 0.1 percentage point less than the number of teenagers who frequent such sites.