Majority of US seniors now going online: poll

It's taken a while, but a majority of Americans aged 65 and older are now finally using the Internet or email, according to the results of a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

Reporting its findings, Pew's Internet research unit said 53 percent of senior citizens in the United States go online, although Internet and broadband use drops off "significantly" among those older than 75.

"Though these (over-65) adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the Internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online," Pew said.

"After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant," it said, though the figures trail well behind the 97 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds who use the Internet.

Previous Pew surveys had put the level of Intenet usage among over-65s in the vicinity of 40 percent during the past four years.

Pollsters also found that 69 percent of American seniors own a cellphone, up from 57 percent two years ago, while one in three seniors use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pew's survey -- published on its website, www.pewinternet.org -- was conducted on May 15 through April 3 among 2,254 adults in the United States, with a margin of error of plus of minus 2.4 percentage points.

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