Half of all people who have never used the internet are disabled people

The latest internet usage statistics have been published for up to June 2012.

(Aside: the Office for National Statistics really should be congratulated for publishing such useful stats and breakdowns each quarter.)

Overall, they show the total number of people using the internet is increasing: it’s 4% more than to March this year and 10% higher than this time last year. This is great news, and testament to the great work organisations like Go On UK  are doing.

The focus on who isn’t using the internet tends to be on older people. Though understandable, my focus is always on disabled people, and the figures show why:

  • To June 2012, there were 3.91 million disabled adults who had never used the internet
  • This 3.91m disabled adults represents around 34% of all disabled adults, i.e. 1 in 3 disabled adults has never used the internet
  • The equivalent figure for non-disabled people is around 10%, i.e. 1 in 10 non-disabled adults has never used the internet
  • Thus, disabled people are three times more likely never to have used the internet than non-disabled people
  • The 3.91m disabled adults who have never used the internet represents just under half of the 7.82m adults who had never used the internet, i.e. nearly 1 in 2 of all people who have never used the internet are disabled people.

By way of comparison: 38% of adults aged 65 years and over had never used the Internet, representing 2.12m people, i.e. 2 in 5.

Thus, in relative terms, older people and disabled people’s use of the internet is about the same (38% to 34% respectively). In absolute terms, there are around 1.8m more disabled people who have never used the internet than people over 65.

Useful to keep in mind, especially if we’re moving towards Digital by Default and online information directories in social care…


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

4 thoughts on “Half of all people who have never used the internet are disabled people”

  1. Although some of our 230 members 9with learning difficulties) may have been on the internet very few have regular access at home. We only have email addresses for half a dozen people. Of our 8 directors only 2 can be contacted via email. Our treasurer (who does not have internet access at home) was fuming this week at being confronted yet again by the assumption that he would be able to do something on the internet and that having no access can mean extra expense.

    Some of the problem is down to cost. As less than 5% of people with learning difficulties are in paid employment they can’t afford to buy a computer or subscribe to broadband. Although it is possible to get free access in a library for example that may not be a priority for many people – coupled with the fact that it’s not easy if you struggle to read and find learning hard.

    I don’t know what the solution is but worry that people who are already disenfranchised can expect thinsg to get worse rather than better.

    1. Thanks for your comment – all valid points. It frustrates me, too, when people don’t think enough about what just putting stuff online / email means for people who might not have access.

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