Grappling with the ‘digital divide’

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The weight of digital participation

Digital equity has been described as “the civil rights issue of our time,” and our research concludes no one single group of people are more emblematic of the ongoing crisis than older adults.

Technology adoption presents opportunities for empowerment, independence, and the ability to lead a more satisfying life. The extensive benefits of being online are clear, so why do 22 million older adults lack in-home internet connection?

A portrait of the disconnected

OATS commissioned original research from two aging experts to help us understand why older adults aren’t online. Their analysis presents a stark picture of disproportionate representation among those who are offline. Some of the strongest demographic predictors of being offline are age, low educational attainment, income level, race or ethnicity, immigration status, health and disability, and household composition.

While this data provides a high-level understanding of who is disconnected, the pathways to digital access and engagement are complex.

Based on these results, it’s clear that the conversation around getting seniors online must be reframed. Included in the Aging Connected agenda is a toolkit for nonprofit partners to better communicate the value of in-home broadband to older adults. 

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Whitepaper: Exposing the Hidden Connectivity Crisis for Older Adults

The whitepaper includes original research, analysis, and recommendations for how to bring seniors online and close the ‘digital divide.’ 

Read Aging Connected whitepaper!

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