Table of contents
1. Main points
92% of adults in the UK were recent internet users in 2020, up from 91% in 2019.
Almost all adults aged 16 to 44 years in the UK were recent internet users (99%), compared with 54% of adults aged 75 years and over.
While there has been little change in internet use for adults aged 16 to 44 years in recent years, the proportion of those aged 75 years and over who are recent internet users nearly doubled since 2013, from 29%, to 54% in 2020.
6.3% of adults in the UK had never used the internet in 2020, down from 7.5% in 2019.
The number of disabled adults who were recent internet users in 2020 reached almost 11 million, 81% of disabled adults; up from just over 10 million (78% of disabled adults) in 2019.
London continued to be the UK region with the highest recent internet use (95%) in 2020, while Northern Ireland remained the lowest at 88%.
2. Internet users data
Internet users, UK
Dataset | Released 6 April 2021
Internet use in the UK; annual estimates by age, sex, disability and geographical location.
3. Measuring the data
The survey data for this release were collected by the Labour Force survey (LFS) between January and March 2020. This straddles the period before and after the COVID outbreak in March 2020 so it is not possible to use the 2020 data to indicate changes in internet usage as a result of the pandemic.
Estimates of adults with a disability, as defined by the Equality Act, are presented from 2014. The term "disabled" is used to refer to those who self-assess that they have a disability in line with the Equality Act. These should not be compared directly with the estimates for 2011 to 2013, which are defined by the Disability Discrimination Act.
The Internet access - households and individuals statistical bulletin provides more information on the range of activities carried out on the internet but the estimates are derived from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, which has a much smaller sample size than the LFS from which internet users is derived. Comparisons made between the estimates of these two publications should be undertaken with caution.
The survey data for this release are collected by the Labour Force Survey (LFS). There are indications that participation in the LFS was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, from early March 2020.
As the survey data for this release were collected in January to March 2020, there could be some impact from the pandemic on the survey results. The larger than usual growth in internet use by adults aged 75 years and over, could be partly related to the effects of the beginning of the pandemic and we therefore advise that results for this age group are treated with a degree of caution.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on COVID-19 and the production of statistics. Specific queries must be directed to the Media Relations Office.
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Internet users Quality and Methodology Information.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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