Figures suggest a whopping seven million adults in the UK have never connected to the internet. The majority of those are, as one might expect, the elderly.
Research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has been collecting stats on internet users in the UK. The data collected was based on responses to the questions “When did you last use the internet”. According to their research, 43.5 million British adults currently use the internet, one million more than in the same period last year. However, the more interesting number is that 7.1 million Brits still haven’t connected, with the majority of those being either elderly or disabled. "It's not just about access to the internet," said Graham Walker, CEO of Go On UK, a company aimed at helping people and businesses improve their digital skills. "Sixteen million adults don't have the basic online skills to confidently take advantage of digital tools."
The truth is that while a lot of our time online is spent looking at YouTube or laughing at memes, getting people connected isn’t just about ensuring that everyone is in the loop about what a ceiling-cat is: The world is becoming increasingly digitized and living without the net may one day soon prove difficult.
The elderly make up the majority of those who are not online
The ONS statistics indicate that London has the highest rate of internet users, with 90% of the population being connected. The lowest percentage was in Northern Ireland, where the figure was just 79%. In addition, considerably more women (4.2 million) than men (2.8 million) have never been online. Unsurprisingly, among young people between the ages of 16 and 24, a sizable 99% were connected. Those aged 75 and older make up the largest group who still don’t use the net.
There are promising signs for the elderly however: In 2011, 23.8% of the elderly had internet access. Now that percentage has risen to 34.3%. The ONS does urge caution about those figures however, as a smaller sample size was used for older people than for the rest of the survey.