Internet use among over-75s doubles despite gender gap

Internet use among the over-75s has nearly doubled in the last five years, but two-thirds of older women have still never used the internet, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

How the UK uses the internet. Picture: PA

Figures published on internet use for the first three months of this year show that while the vast majority of adults in the UK are now regular internet users, the number of disabled people and women over 75 who have never used the internet remains high.

According to the statistics, 87.9 per cent of UK adults - more than 45.9 million people - used the internet in the last three months.

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However, 25 per cent of disabled people in the UK have never been online, while less than a third of women over 75 have accessed the web in 2016, according to the figures.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said: “These figures show that disabled people still face a huge digital divide.

“It’s shocking that in 2016 a quarter of disabled people have never used the internet, compared to just 10 per cent of the adult population overall.

“Digital access has the power to make life cost less. Many people go online to compare the best consumer deals and offers.

“Life costs more if you are disabled, from higher energy bills to specialist equipment Scope research shows these costs add up to on average £550 per month.”

The latest figures also revealed that between January and March this year more than five million people 
used the internet for the first time.

Pete Lee, from the Office for National Statistics’ surveys and economic division, said of the findings: “While we have seen a notable increase in internet usage across all groups in recent years, many older and disabled people are still not online, with two-thirds of women over 75 having never used the internet.”

However, women in the same age bracket have also seen the largest rise in recent internet users, up 169 per cent since 2011, the ONS said.