While senior citizens are often perceived as lost and uninterested when it comes to social media, new Pew Research Center data suggests that social media isn’t just for 18 to 29-year-olds. Although young adults do make up the age group most likely to use social media, 35 percent of seniors (65 and older) are not only using social media, but state they are comfortable with it.
When compared to the 90 percent of young adults utilizing social media on a regular basis, 35 percent might seem low. But that is not at all so if you consider that in 2010, only 11 percent of seniors used social media, and 2 percent did in 2005.
One explanation for the growth is the increasing use of mobile devices among seniors. Other explanations include workplace requirements, and the ability to connect with friends and loved ones — especially when family members don’t live nearby. Social networking, in general, is also impossible to avoid considering the popularity of Facebook, which now includes nearly 1.5 billion users and still accounts for a large chunk of time spent on digital media.
It isn’t just this demographic that is increasing, either. According to the Pew Research study, overall social media use has increased across nearly all groups between 2005 and 2015. The group showing the most growth includes non-college graduates, increasing from just 4 percent in 2005 to 54 percent in 2015. And, in the past, while men were more likely to use social media than women, the numbers are now nearly even, with 68 percent of women and 62 percent of men reporting.
The survey found, however, that people with lower levels of education and lower incomes are still less likely to use social media. Of those with a high school diploma or less, 54 percent say they partake, versus 76 percent of those with higher-education degrees and 70 percent of those with some college education. When looking at households with incomes of less than $30,000, 56 percent say they use social media, versus 78 percent for those with more than $75,000. Still, even in these groups, the numbers have increased sharply since 2005.