techAmericans age 65 and older represent a whopping 15 percent of the population. But is that significant slice of the country adopting technology as quickly as it’s growing in size? The answer is a resounding yes!

According to recent Pew Research surveys, 42 percent of those in this age group now own smartphones, up 24 percent from only four years ago. And in a period of just under two decades, the number of seniors who use the internet has skyrocketed from 15 to 67 percent. Social media usage is also growing for older Americans, but not quite as rapidly as usage of technology in general.

But there are, of course, many factors that affect seniors’ adoption of technology, with age, household income and education chief among them. For example, those 65 to 69 are almost twice as inclined to do anything online as their older peers (80 and over) and practically four times more likely to own a smartphone.

Another factor that affects technology use is the person’s comfort level (or intimidation level, as the case may be) with the devices they are using. When they purchase a new computer, smartphone or tablet, a vast majority of seniors admits to needing help to set it up and learn to use it. Other seniors also have physical barriers to using these gizmos, such as disabilities or health problems.

And some seniors simply prefer to remain disconnected. One-third of adults ages 65 and older never use the internet at all, with about half of homes of older Americans not equipped with broadband services.

However, of those seniors who do go online, they seem to love it! Roughly three-quarters of them access the internet daily, and about one in five are even early adopters of technology.

The bottom line is that more than half of seniors believe that technology has had a “mostly positive impact on society.” Coming from a generation that grew up writing letters, going to the library and learning what their friends and family were up to by actually asking them about it, that’s a glowing endorsement!

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