Published on December 6, 2013
Older Adults and Internet Use: (Some of) What we know Mary Madden, Senior Researcher Pew Research Center October 21, 2013 University of Michigan
About Pew Internet • Part of the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan “fact tank” in Washington, DC • Studying how people use digital technologies since 1999. • Does not promote specific technologies or make policy recommendations • Research is primarily based on nationally representative surveys of U.S. adults
1 Internet Use Among Older Adults 2 Broadband + Smartphone Ownership 3 Social Media Use 4 Health Info Seeking 5 An Invitation
Part One: Internet Use Among Older Adults
Older Adults + Internet Use: 2013 85% of all adults are online. Among 65+, 56% are online. 70% of adults have broadband at home. Among 65+, 43% have broadband. Increasing numbers of all adults are using mobile phones to go online.
Offline adults by age % in each group who do not use the internet or email % who do not go online All Americans ages 18+ (n=2,252) 15% Age a 18-29 (n=404) 2 b 30-49 (n=577) 8a c 50-64 (n=641) 17ab d 65+ (n=570) 44abc Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013. N=2,252 adults ages 18+. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for results based on all adults is +/- 2.3 percentage points. Among adults ages 77+ 62% are offline
What is the main reason you don’t use the internet or email? 60% 50% 48% 47% 40% 30% 35% 2007 34% 2009 32% 2010 2013 20% 21% 16% 10% 19% 18% 15% 18% 15% 12% 11% 6% 7% 0% Relevance Price Usability Avail. / Access Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Surveys. Data for 2013 from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013. N=2,252 adults ages 18+. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones.
Other barriers for 65+ • Assistance is needed: just 13% of non-internet users ages 65+ said they would know enough to go online without help from someone else. • But few are interested enough to seek it: Just 5% of offline adults in this age group say they would like to start using the internet or email. • Many are making due with secondary use: 44% of noninternet users ages 65+ have asked a friend or family member to look something up or complete a task on the internet for them.
Part Two: Broadband + Smartphone Ownership
Home broadband demographics 2013 % in each group who have high-speed broadband at home % with home broadband All Americans ages 18+ (n=2,252) 70% Age a 18-29 (n=404) 80cd b 30-49 (n=577) 78cd c 50-64 (n=641) 69d d 65+ (n=570) 43 Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey, April 17 – May 19, 2013. N=2,252 adults ages 18+. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for results based on all adults is +/- 2.3 percentage points.
Smartphone ownership over time % of all U.S. adults who own…
Smartphone ownership, by age % within each group who own a smartphone Own a smartphone All adults (n=2,252) Age a 18-24 (n=243) b 25-34 (n=284) c 35-44 (n=292) d 45-54 (n=377) e 55-64 (n=426) f 65+ (n=570) 56% 79cdef 81cdef 69def 55ef 39f 18 Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, April 17-May 19, 2013 Tracking Survey. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. Margin of error is +/-2.3 percentage points based on all adults (n=2,252).
Part Three: Social Media Use
How many adults use social media? • 72% of online adults use a social networking site, representing more than half of the entire adult population in the U.S. • Young people are the heaviest users of social networking sites (SNS). • Facebook is still the dominant platform, but users are increasingly diversifying their social media portfolios.
SNS use by age group, 2005-2013 % of internet users in each age group who use social networking sites
Twitter use by age group, over time % of adult internet users in each age group who use Twitter
Motivations for social networking use • For adults ages 50+ staying in touch with family is the #1 reason they use SNS • For adults under age 50, staying in touch with friends is more important
Part Four: Health Info Seeking
Chronic Conditions vs. Health Info Seeking % of all adults, by age 80 70 75 72 67 60 65 60 50 Living with 1+ chronic condition 40 Looks online for health info 34 30 20 30 20 10 0 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Health Topics, by Age % of all adults who have ever looked online for information about various health topics, by age Age All Adults 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ N=3,014 N=478 N=833 N=814 N=830 (a) (b) (c) (d) Specific disease or medical problem 45 50d 52cd 45d 23 Certain medical treatment or procedure 35 38d 43cd 34d 19 Health insurance, including private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid 20 24cd 25cd 18d 10 Pregnancy and childbirth 10 24cde 12de 1 0 Food safety or recalls 16 17d 22de 14d 7 Drug safety or recalls 13 14d 17d 13d 4 Medical test results 12 12d 14d 14d 5 How to lose weight or control your weight 22 31de 28de 16d 6 How to reduce health care costs 9 10d 12d 9d 3 Caring for an aging relative or friend 12 12d 15d 11d 4 Drug you saw advertised 13 15d 14d 14d 6 Any other health issue 17 17d 21d 17d 8
Consulting reviews and rankings online, by age % of internet users within each age group who consulted online reviews or rankings for the following subjects Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, August 7-September 6, 2012 Survey. N=3,014 adults and the margin of error is +/- 2.6 percentage points for internet users.
Caregivers and “Information Triage” Four in ten adults in the U.S. are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, up from 30% in 2010. • 59% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to provide care and support for the person in their care. • 52% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.
Part Five: An Invitation
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