More than 3 million adults in the UK have never used the internet

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
File photo dated 06/08/13 of a person using a laptop. More people than ever were regular internet users in 2020, new figures show. New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that 92% of all UK adults have recently been online, up from 91% in 2019. Issue date: Tuesday April 6, 2021.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 92% of UK adults have recently been online. (PA)

More than three million adults in the UK have never used the internet, figures have revealed.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday showed that 3.36 million people aged 16 and over have not gone online.

Of that total, 85% – or 2.84 million – are aged 65 and over.

This chart shows the number of people in the UK who have never used the internet by age group, since 2013

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The ONS revealed 6.3% of UK adults said in 2020 they had never used the internet, down from 7.5% in 2019.

The report also found that 92% of adults were “recent internet users” in 2020, a slight increase from 91% the previous year.

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Almost all (99%) of those in the 16 to 44 age bracket were in this category.

In contrast, just more than half (54%) of adults aged 75 and over were recent users.

However, this age group has seen the most growth in web users.

Between 2013 and 2020 their proportion has almost doubled, from 29% to 54%.

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The ONS suggested this increase in use among older people could be linked to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, as millions of people used technology to stay in touch with friends and family.

However, it pointed out that the statistics were gathered between January and March 2020, just as the outbreak in the UK was beginning.

Elderly lady in video call on het tablet computer in her kitchen.
Intrenet usage among the elderly in the UK has increased, the ONS said. (Getty)

The age group with the fewest people who have never used the internet was the 16 to 24 bracket, with 15,000.

The study found that 81% of disabled people, almost 11 million, had used the internet in 2020, up from 78% in 2019. There are more than 14 million disabled people in the UK.

London was the region with the highest internet use - 95% of its residents are recent users - compared to 88% in Northern Ireland.

Of those adults who don’t use the internet, the ONS said 1.39 million were men and 1.97 million were women.

Watch: The history of the internet