UK's internet usage increases as the older generation turns to the internet

Ashley Kirk
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A man works at a computer in London's TechHub (Photo: Getty Images)

The number of UK residents using the internet has risen to an all-time high as the proportion of older people who have never gone online falls.

Over the first three months of 2015, 86.2 per cent of UK adults used the internet, according to data released by the Office of National Statistics. This is one percentage point higher than the same period in 2014.

Some 5.9 million adults - 11 per cent of the adult population - have never used the internet. Three million of these people were aged 75 and over.

The South East has the highest proportion of internet users

The South East had the highest proportion of recent internet users in the UK, with 90 per cent having used it in the first three months of 2015. Northern Ireland was the area with the lowest proportion - with just 80 per cent of people using it in 2015.

North East England, Wales and North West England all performed relatively poorly - while London and South West England had higher proportions internet users in the last three months.

Young people use the internet more - but older people are trying it out

Demographics play a large part in determining internet usage, the data reveals.

Younger people were more likely to use the internet, with almost all 16-24 year olds being recent internet users. This is in contrast to 33 per cent of adults aged 75 and over venturing online.

Despite internet usage being lower in the older age groups, the proportion of adults aged 75 years and over who had never used the internet decreased from 76 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 61 per cent in quarter 1 of 2015.

Disabled people are much less likely to use the internet

In 2015, just 68 per cent of those living with a disability were recent internet users - compared with 92 per cent of those who were not disabled.

The gap is smaller for those aged 16-24 years old. For disabled people aged between 16-24, 95 per cent were recent internet users - compared to 99 per cent of those that were not disabled.

Men have a higher internet usage than women

Gender is another relevant demographic in determining internet usage over the last five years, according to the ONS figures.
In 2015, 87.9 per cent of men had used the internet in the last three months, compared with 84.6 per cent of women.

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