Are you an elderly internet user, or a concerned grandkid who wants Grandpa/ma to learn how to use the computer? Either way, you’re sure to find the following statistics on elderly Internet and smartphone usage fascinating—we sure do! Starting with…

Four out of ten seniors own a smartphone

Technology use among seniors is at an all-time high with four out of ten seniors the proud owners of smartphones. Elderly internet usage has also gone up in recent years too. Overall technology and internet usage has increased across all age groups, genders, and demographics. Elderly populations continue to trail younger generations when it comes to keeping up with the latest technology, but that doesn’t mean they are out of the game altogether. 

42% of seniors owned a smartphone as of 2017

Five years ago, half as many people owned smartphones as today. Part of this growth came from senior populations. 42% of seniors reported owning a smartphone in 2017, while just 18% of seniors reported owning a smartphone in 2013.

Seniors who own smartphones tend to have higher incomes and education levels

Certain groups of seniors are more technology savvy than others. Researchers identified two factors that appear to influence smartphone ownership and Internet usage: annual income and education level.   

Seniors with more education and higher annual household incomes have seen the largest growth in senior smartphone usage over the last few years. Seniors who make over $70,000 a year started using smartphones more than any other group of seniors, showing an increase of 39 percentage points since 2013.

Furthermore, 81% of seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more reported owning a smartphone. While only 27% of seniors with an annual household income of $30,000 or less per year reported owning a smartphone.

Educational attainment appears to be equally important…

  • Around 65% of seniors who held a bachelor’s or advanced degree reported owning a smartphone.
  • 45% of seniors with some college experience reported owning a smartphone.
  • And, just 27% of seniors with a high school diploma or less reported owning a smartphone.

Age matters too

Younger seniors report higher smartphone ownership. In fact, age is one of the most prominent factors in senior smartphone ownership.

  • 59% of seniors between 65 and 69 own a smartphone.
  • 49% of seniors between 70 and 74 own a smartphone.
  • 31% of seniors between 75 and 79 own a smartphone.
  • 17% of seniors 80 and older own a smartphone.

A larger percentage of younger seniors reported using the Internet as well. Two-thirds of respondents, 65 to 69 years old, reported maintaining high-speed internet at home.

44% of seniors 80 and over reported Internet usage, while just 28% said they maintained a broadband internet connection at home.

Only 14% of seniors used the Internet in 2000

The PEW Research Center began Internet tracking in 2000, at which time they found approximately 14% of seniors were using the Internet. Today, 67% of seniors over 65 use the Internet.

The number of senior households that pay for broadband have increased as well, although at a slower rate. In 2013, 47% of all seniors reported having broadband. In 2017, that number increased to 51% of seniors who reported having high-speed internet at home.

Tablets are becoming more popular than e-readers among seniors

Around 32% of seniors own a tablet and 19% own an e-reader. Seniors who own tablets have increased by double-digit numbers since 2013. On the other hand, the number of seniors who own e-readers has virtually remained the same. You know what that means… don’t buy Granny an e-reader! Word from the wise, she wants an iPad.

Read the full study on senior internet and smartphone usage at