The Daily — Study: Consumption of culture by older Canadians on the Internet, 2010

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Older Canadians increased their use of the Internet over the last decade, but remained less likely to use it for their consumption of some cultural items, namely music listening and video viewing.

In 2010, 60% of seniors aged 65 to 74 and 29% of those aged 75 and over had used the Internet in the month prior to the survey. A decade earlier, Internet use (at home only) was less than 10% among those aged 65 and above. On the other hand, Internet use among young people aged 15 to 24 was almost universal by 2010.

Even though older Canadians have increased their use of the Internet, there is a notable generation gap in the areas of video viewing and downloaded music, two Internet-related culture items that have grown popular in recent years.

In 2010, 87% of young people aged 15 to 24 listened to downloaded music at least once a week. In comparison, 10% of Canadians aged 65 to 74 listened to music downloaded from the Internet on a weekly basis.

Yet older Canadians listened to music as frequently as they did in the late 1990s, but still relied on traditional formats when they listened to music.

In 2010, over one-half of music listeners aged 45 and over, and more than 80% of seniors aged 65 and over, listened to music only in traditional formats like CDs. This compared to 6% among those aged 15 to 24.

This study showed that the digital gap between generations was also large in the area of movie and video viewing.

In 2010, nearly 80% of young people aged 18 to 24 reported that they had used the Internet to watch movies or videos, including video clips. About 10% of seniors had done so.

Note to readers

This study examines the extent to which seniors aged 65 and over are using the Internet as a source of cultural content, with a focus on music listening and video (or film) viewing. Data on other areas of culture on the Internet (like e-publishing) are not covered by existing data sources.

Data come mostly from the General Social Survey, which began asking questions about technology use in the early 2000s and has collected information on culture consumption periodically since 1992. Another data source is the Canadian Internet Use Survey, which provides information not only about Internet usage but also about specific Internet uses, including entertainment.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers survey number4432 and survey number4503.

The article "Consumption of culture by older Canadians on the Internet" is now available online in the January 2013 edition of Insights on Canadian Society (Catalogue number75-006-X, free), from the Browse by key resource module or our website under Publications.

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mary Allen (613-951-0406;, Labour Statistics Division.

For more information on Insights on Canadian Society, contact Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté (613-951-0803;, Labour Statistics Division.