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Internet Usage and Online Activities of Older Adults

Couple using laptop computerRecent Census data states that older adults are actively using the Internet.  A Current Population Survey (CPS) for October 2009 conducted by the U.S. Census reports that 42 percent of adults 65 years and older access the Internet from some location and 53 percent of older adults live in a household with Internet access.

What type of daily Internet activities do older adults engage in? Census data for 2008 and 2009 shows that older adults send or read e-mail, use a search engine to find information and get news online. They’re less likely to watch online videos and send instant messages.

With the increased use of Internet-enabled mobile devices, it remains to be seen how often older adults will start to access the Internet through handheld mobile devices, and how mobile Internet access will affect how older adults’ use the Internet.

Resources on Internet Use of Older Adults
The U.S. Census
Information & Communications: Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Internet Usage

Pew Internet Project
Baby Boomers in the Digital Age

American Association for Retired Persons (AARP)
Internet Use Among Midlife and Older Adults: An AARP Bulletin Poll

AoA Resources on Older Americans
AoA collects and summarizes extensive data on older Americans. For more information on the characteristics of older Americans (including data on income, living arrangements, education, and health), visit these resources:

A Profile of Older Americans
AoA Census Data and Population Estimates
Minority Aging
Aging Integrated Database