the new literacy

44% of Americans 65 and older are not on the internet and don’t want to be

Among 18-29 year olds in the US, the penetration of internet access is now almost as high as the literacy rate, says a new report from Pew, Who’s not online and why.

Americans over age 65 are 22 times as likely as those between 18 and 29 to never use the internet or email.(Pew)

By contrast, 44% of Americans who are 65 and older never use the internet or email.

The other determinant of who isn’t on the internet is educational attainment.

Level of education is almost as strong a predictor of whether someone is online as age.(Pew)

As you would expect given the correlation between educational attainment and income, those making less than $30,000 a year are twice as likely as those making $30-$49,999 a year to not be on the internet—24% versus 12%. Among those in the highest income bracket, $75,000 a year, only 4% are not on the internet.

So who are these people who aren’t on the internet, and why? Because so many of them are older, Pew’s data aren’t terribly revealing about younger non-internet users. Taken as a whole, though, the reasons that Pew gathered for not using the internet are exactly the ones you’d expect to hear around (an American) Thanksgiving table. “Just not interested” tops the list, followed by concerns about how hard the internet is to use.

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