Update: An Excel file containing our recent generations data (with ages as of 2011) is available for download here.
There are still notable differences by generation in online activities, but the dominance of the Millennial generation that we documented in our first “Generations” report in 2009 has slipped in many activities.
Milliennials, those ages 18-33, remain more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone. In addition, they still clearly surpass their elders online when it comes to many communication- and entertainment-related activities, such as using social network sites and playing games online.
However, internet users in Gen X (those ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to engage in several online activities, including visiting government websites and getting financial information online.
Finally, the biggest online trend is that, while the very youngest and oldest cohorts may differ, certain key internet uses are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These online activities include seeking health information, purchasing products, making travel reservations, and downloading podcasts.
Even in areas that are still dominated by Millennials, older generations are making notable gains. While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%. Read more...
About the Survey
The primary adult data in this report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults ages 18 and older, including 744 reached on a cell phone. Interviews were conducted in English. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
The most current teen data in this study is from a separate Pew Internet survey of teens and their parents conducted from June 26 to September 24, 2009. For more information on these and other surveys cited in this report, please see the Methodology section at the end of this report.
For more information on generations, see the new Pew Research Center series exploring the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation. Learn more at pewresearch.org/millennials.