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Study: Evolving Internet Use Among Canadian Seniors

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Released: 2019-07-10

The number of Canadian seniors using the Internet doubled from 2007 to 2016, a faster growth than any other age group, but the percentage of seniors on the Internet is still far below the non-senior population. These findings are from a new study released today which examines changing Internet use by seniors (people aged 65 and older) and associated characteristics.

Based on data from the General Social Survey, the study showed that the rate of seniors using the Internet increased from 32% in 2007 to 68% in 2016. However, as the Internet has become a vital utility on par with the telephone, that rate is considered low compared with the 97% rate of Internet usage among Canadians, and a potential source of social exclusion.

Rates of Internet use differ across age groups within the senior population, with about 81% use among seniors aged 65 to 69, compared with 74% among those aged 70 to 74, 64% among those aged 75 to 79, and 49% among those aged 80 or older.

Education and income are also strong predictors of Internet use among seniors. In 2016, 89% of seniors with a university education were Internet users, compared with 46% of seniors without a high school diploma. For seniors with a household income between $60,000 and $79,999, the probability of Internet use was 73%, compared with 54% among seniors with incomes under $20,000 and 79% among seniors with incomes of $100,000 and over.

  Note to readers

Internet access in this study is defined as accessing the Internet once a month or more. This study uses four cycles of the General Social Survey (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016) which were only administered in the provinces. Individuals residing in the territories or full-time residents of institutions are out of scope of the study.


The research paper "Evolving Internet Use Among Canadian Seniors," which is part of the Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series (Catalogue number11F0019M), is now available.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact René Morissette (613-951-3608;, Social Analysis and Modelling Division.

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