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North-south divide in internet use amongst over 65s

Published on 17 September 2013 12:01 AM

New data from Age UK reveals a north-south divide amongst older people when it comes to using the internet, with those aged 65 and over in the south of England generally more likely to be online compared to those in the north.

 

Older people in Tyne and Wear are the least likely in England to be online, where only 28% of people aged 65 and over report using the internet.

Meanwhile older people in Surrey are the most likely to be online, where 63% of people aged 65 and over report using the internet.

ITea & Biscuits Week

The research, which comes at the start of the our annual ITea and Biscuits Week, also reveals that there are only 4 areas in England where the percentage of older people online, outnumber those who are offline.

This week Age UK is running ITea and Biscuits Week to enable people who have never been online to try out technology for themselves.

Bottom five areas for internet use amongst people aged 65 and over:

People 65+ offline People 65+ online
Tyne and Wear % Within area 72.3% 27.7%
West Yorkshire % Within area 70.3% 29.7%
Cumbria % Within area 69.8% 30.2%
South Yorkshire % Within area 68.7% 31.3%
Hull and East Riding % Within area 68.5% 31.5%

Top five areas for internet use amongst people aged 65 and over:

People 65+ offline People 65+ online
Surrey % Within area 37% 63%
Bedfordshire % Within area 46.2% 53.8%
Buckinghamshire % Within area 46.6% 53.4%
Suffolk % Within area 47.1% 52.9%
Oxfordshire % Within area 50% 50%

The research sends a clear message to the government, local authorities and businesses about internet use amongst older people, many of whom are increasingly focused on getting people to access their services online.

Reasons behind this divide are wide and varied

Commenting on the new findings, David Mortimer, Head of Digital Inclusion at Age UK, said: 'It is concerning that in some parts of the country, more than twice as many older people are able to access the benefits of being online than in other areas, particularly as there appears to be a north / south divide around internet use amongst older people.

'The reasons behind this divide are wide and varied. We know for example that women aged 75 and over who live alone are the most likely group in society to have never been online.

'In addition, older people with lower economic wealth, those living alone and those in relatively worse health are far less likely to be online.

'We hope this data will highlight to the government, local authorities and businesses the work that needs to be done across the country to help older people to get online.

'More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings. However if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and on-going support.'

The internet can offer huge benefits to older people with recent research suggesting that those aged 65 and over online are nearly 3 times less likely to report being lonely than people who are offline.

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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