Elderly losing out in city with high levels of digital skills

finger on tablet-2A very high proportion of people in  London use the internet but what are they able to do when they are online? 91% of Londoners have at some point accessed the internet according to survey data from the Office for National Statistics, reported by Urbs.  But fewer than that have basic skills it would seem, according to a another survey into digital capability?

The research, commissioned by the charity Go On UK, which aims to improve digital skills in individuals and organisations, shows that Londoners come out on top in the UK,  but 16% would fail to perform 5 basic digital skills.

The charity identified a series of task to define digital skills, from searching for information, to filling out an online form or creating something from online assets.  Those with all 5 are defined as having Basic Digital Skills, those with the first 4 as having Basic Online Skills.

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Graphic: Ipsos for Go On UK

Research company Ipsos carried out face-to-face interviews with 4,167 people nationally, 577 of them in London, to assess skills. 71% nationally possessed all 5 skills; in London it was 84%.

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Map: Ipsos for Go On UK

 

Looking at the survey results at local authority level saw a high point of 90% in the City of London and above average scores of 88% in Kensington and Chelsea, and 86% in Wandsworth. Seven boroughs had rates below 80% with the lowest recorded in Redbridge, 76% and Newham, 73%.

Across the UK, skill levels in older people are much less common but the decline for those over 45 was much steeper in London than the rest of the country.  While skill levels for groups below 44 are almost identical, in the 65+ age category 43% have the basic digital skills but only 38% in London.

One positive difference between London and the rest of the country is the gender gap, which the survey suggests doesn’t exist in the capital.  In the UK as a whole 80% of men and 74% of women had the basic digital skills. In London it was 84% and 83%.

Access to broadband emerged as a key factor as did ownership of digital devices.  London scores well in both these areas; 93% of respondents in London had broadband access and 94% owned a smartphone.

Source data

See also

More than half a million Londoners have never used the internet

London’s smart, but not smart enough

 

More than half a million Londoners have never used the internet

keyboard close upMore than half a million people in London have never used the internet. But London has the lowest proportion of people who are not online of any region of the country.

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.

Internet usage age

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.

Internet usage

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.

Source data

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