These findings are based on data gathered by the Office for National Statistics in the Labour Force Survey. More than 300,000 people took part, 27,000 of them in London. They were asked, “When did you last use the internet?”
8.7% of respondents in London said that they have never used the Internet. That’s equivalent to 586,000 people. The average across all regions of the UK is 11.4%, but in Northern Ireland 18.8% have never been online.
The breakdown shows a clear age factor in non-usage. The majority of those over 75 do not use the Internet. Almost a quarter of the people aged 65-74 are non-users and 16% of those 60-64. Most people under 60 are internet users and everyone in their 20s has been on the internet.
There are more women than men in the survey who say they never use the internet; 10.8% compared to 6.5% of men. There is also some variation based on ethnic origin. In London a higher than average proportion of respondents from Chinese and Black, African, Caribbean or Black British backgrounds have never used the Internet. Across the UK people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin have a lower rate of usage but In London these groups are above average in internet use.
The occupations with the highest level of non-usage are people who work in process, plant and machine operation, followed by those in skilled trades.
People who own their home outright make up a higher proportion of non-users than those with a mortgage or renting. This may be due to an age factor, as owner-occupiers tend to be older.
Although London as a whole has the lowest regional average there are some areas where the proportion of people who have never been online is higher than the national average. In Haringey it is 13% and in Bexley 14. In contrast only 3% of the population of Lambeth and 2% in Kensington and Chelsea have never been online.
The proportion of Londoners who have never used the internet has come down from 13.9% in 2011 when the ONS started asking this question. As most non-users are elderly people this rate is likely to keep falling as soon the elderly will also be part of a generation to have grown up and worked in a digital world.