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Some 59% of Americans age 65 or older report they now go online, a six percentage point increase from 2012, according to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Moreover, among older adults who use the internet, 71% go online every day or almost every day, and an additional 11% go online three to five times per week.

Nearly half (47%) of US seniors also say they have a high-speed broadband connection at home, and 77% report having a mobile phone (up from 69% in 2012).

However, seniors continue to lag behind younger Americans significantly in tech adoption: 91% of the general adult population (18+) have cell phones, 86% use the internet, and 70% have broadband access at home.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 1,526 Americans age 65 or older.

Demographic Differences 

  • Younger, higher-income, and more highly educated American seniors use the Internet and broadband at rates approaching—or even exceeding—that of the general population.
  • Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90% go online and 82% have broadband at home. Among seniors earning less than $30,000 annually, only 39% go online and 25% have broadband at home.
  • Internet use and broadband adoption both drop dramatically for those around age 75.

Device Habits

  • Among the general public, smartphones are much more common than either tablet computers or e-book readers. However, tablets, e-book readers, and smartphones are each owned by 18% of older adults.
  • Moreover, the proportion of older adults who own either a tablet or an e-book reader is actually larger than the proportion owning a smartphone (27% compared with 18%).

Social Media

  • 27% of Americans age 65 or older (46% of online seniors) use at least one social networking site (SNS), such as Facebook.
  • 81% of older adults who use social networking sites say that they socialize with others (either in person, online, or over the telephone) on a daily or near-daily basis. Among older adults who go online but do not use social networking sites, that figure is 71%; and for those who are not online at all, it is 63%.

About the research: The report was based on data from a telephone survey of 6,224 adult Americans (1,526 age 65 or older) conducted between July 18 and September 30, 2013.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji