The latest ONS analysis looks at Internet usage in the UK, and shows that the percentage of adults (aged 16 and over) who had never used the Internet was 13% in Q1 2014, down from 17% in Q1 2011. The number of adults who had never used the Internet in Q1 2014 was 6.4 million, a decrease of 26% since Q1 2011. The percentage of adults who had used the Internet was 87% (44.6 million adults) in Q1 2014, compared with 82% in Q1 2011.
Internet use is linked to various socio-economic and demographic characteristics such as age, sex, disability, geographical location and weekly earnings. For instance, both the elderly and disabled are less likely to have used the Internet, and these differences are revealed in this analysis.
Figure 1: Percentage of Internet users and non-users
Nearly all 16 to 24 year olds had used the Internet
Almost all 16 to 24 year olds had used the Internet at 99%, compared with 37% of those aged 75 and over. Of the 6.4 million adults who had never used the Internet, 47% were aged 75 and over. It is often assumed that those who aren’t online are elderly but 26% of those who had never used the Internet were of working age (16 to 64).
Men more likely to be Internet users than women
Overall, men (89%) were more likely to be Internet users than women (85%), at 22.4 million and 22.2 million respectively. This difference has remained since ONS started collecting this information in Q1 2011.
Increase in Internet users aged 50 and over since 2011
Internet use by those aged 50 and over has increased by 10 percentage points since Q1 2011, from 63% to 73% in Q4 2014. There was little or no difference between men and women across all age groups, except for those aged 75 and over. Men aged 75 and over (47%) were more likely to use the Internet than women aged 75 and over (30%). Overall, the proportion of adults aged 75 and over who have ever used the Internet increased by 13 percentage points since Q1 2011.
Figure 2: Percentage of Internet users aged 45 and over by region
London had the highest proportion of Internet users
Internet usage has increased across all of the UK, but the analysis shows that London had the highest proportion of Internet users at 90% and Northern Ireland had the lowest at 79%. Despite this, Northern Ireland had the highest growth of all the regions between 2011 and 2014.
Map 1: Internet use by NUTS 2 area, United Kingdom
Where can I find out more about Internet usage?
These statistics were analysed by the Research & Development, Information Technology team at ONS. The analysis was based on data from the Labour Force Survey. If you would like to find out more about Internet usage, you can read the release or view the infographic. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear them. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org