Whether it’s Skyping with the grandkids or sharing photos with them on Facebook, senior citizens have become more tech-savvy in recent years. Studies continue to show that social networks are acquiring more senior users with each passing year. In 2009, the Nielsen Company found that the number of seniors actively using the Internet had increased by more than 55 percent, from 11.3 million active users in November 2004 to 17.5 million in November 2009. By February 2012, 34 percent of internet users age 65 and older used social networking sites such as Facebook. By comparison, e-mail use continued to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors. By April 2012, there were over 50 percent of adults age 65 and older using the internet or e-mail.
In the most recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, adults age 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites during the last four years—from 13 percent in the spring of 2009 to 43 percent today. By 2015, eMarketer forecasts there will be over 26 million senior internet users in the U.S. By 2030, when tech-savvy baby boomers will mature into this demographic, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts nearly one in five Americans will be seniors.
Top Online Activities include:
• Over 40 percent of adults age 65 and older use e-mail.
• Over 90 percent watch television online.
• Over 70 percent shop online.
• Over 60 percent visit government websites.
• Over 80 percent search for information on health care.
• Over 50 percent use online banking.
About Pew’s Online Study:
This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,125) and cell phone (1,127, including 571 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.