Americans 65+ comprise less than 10% of the active Internet, but their numbers are growing: In the last five years, the number of seniors actively using the Internet grew 55% to 17.5 million in November 2009, up from 11.3 million in November 2004, according to a survey by Nielsen.

Among those 65+, the growth of the number of women online outpaced that of men by 6 percentage points over the same period.

Not only are more people 65+ heading online, but they  are also spending 11% more time on the Web,  from approximately 52 hours per month in November 2004 to just over 58 hours in November 2009.

Among online visitors 65+, 88.6% cite checking their personal email as the top online activity performed in the previous 30 days, followed by viewing or printing online maps (68.6%), and checking weather online (60.1%).

The top online destination in November 2009 for people 65+ was Google search, with 10.3 million unique visitors. Windows Media Player followed with 8.2 million visitors and Facebook with 7.9 million.

Facebook was the third most popular online destination for those 65+ in November, up from 45th just last year.

Overall, the number of unique visitors who are 65+ on social networking and blog sites has increased 53% in the last two years alone. Moreover, 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.

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