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Demographics, They Are A-Changin'


A commonly held notion among media scholars and PR professionals has been that the majority of senior citizens and older demographics are not online. However, the results of a recent study conducted by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) prove otherwise.

The study showed that between 2013 and 2015 the number of online users ages 65 and older increased from 51 percent to 56 percent — a change attributed to increased accessibility to the Internet since 2013.

Today’s technology users have access to smartphones, social media and wireless Internet, as well as more ability than ever before to be constantly connected. And once they’re connected, they’re hooked.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center stated that once seniors gain access to the Internet, it tends to become a regular part of their lives. Not only are people age 65 and older starting to use the Internet more actively, but they’re also taking part in social networking in growing numbers.

According to Snapchat, over a 100 million users are daily active “Snapchatters,” and the numbers are only growing. The same can be said for Facebook with over 1.04 billion daily active users at the end of 2015. Snapchat also noted that 26 percent of its users are between the ages of 25 and 34, while 12 percent are between 35 and 54. People ages 55 and older sit at a mere 2 percent of active monthly Snapchat users, a statistic that has been increasing.

We’re also seeing that race and economic class are having a reduced impact on an individual’s online habits. The NTIA’s study found that Internet use among people over the age of 15 without a high school diploma increased from 54 to 58 percent, while use among those with only a high school diploma increased from 64 to 67 percent.

What does all of this mean, though? It means that large groups of Americans who have previously been unable to gain access to online content due to financial, educational and other hurdles are now increasingly able to advance themselves in the digital world.

The demographics of the Internet and users on social-networking sites are drastically changing because of the Internet’s widespread reach and, now, growing accessibility. Not only are marketers able to reach more people than ever, they are now able to reach specific audiences in even more effective ways and track what is having an impact. It’s a marketer’s paradise!