May 26, 2022

New Survey Data From Pew Research: “Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults”

From Pew Research:

U.S. adults ages 65 and older are moving towards more digitally connected lives, according to newly released survey data from Pew Research Center. However, many seniors remain largely disconnected from the digital revolution.

This analysis finds that 42% of adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013.

Smartphone adoption among seniors has nearly quadrupled in the last five years

Fully 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55 percentage point increase in just under two decades – and for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.

Around a third of seniors report using social media

However, one-third of adults ages 65 and older say they never use the internet, and roughly half (49%) say they do not have home broadband services. Meanwhile, even with their recent gains, the proportion of seniors who say they own smartphones is 42 percentage points lower than those ages 18 to 64.

Adoption rates also vary greatly by household income. Fully 87% of seniors living in households earning $75,000 or more a year say they have home broadband, compared with just 27% of seniors whose annual household income is below $30,000. Educational differences follow a similar pattern, with college graduates adopting technology at much higher rates than seniors with lower levels of formal education.

Most seniors say they need help using new electronic devices

[Emphasis ours] Some 34% of older internet users say they have little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks, while 48% of seniors say that this statement describes them very well: “When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.