Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

2 in 5 U.S. seniors lack sufficient broadband


Twenty million U.S. seniors lack a high-speed wired connection to the internet, according to a new study by the nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which works to get seniors access to the internet.

Why it matters: Internet access has long been critical for seniors, but has become absolutely essential during the pandemic for access to healthcare, online shopping, social outlets and more.

By the numbers:

  • Black seniors are 2.5 times likelier and Latinos more than 3.3 times likelier than whites to lack fixed internet access.
  • Medicaid enrollees are more than 2.7 times likelier to lack fixed Internet access.
  • Rural Americans are 1.6 times likelier to lack fixed internet access.

Between the lines: While many of those without wired internet have a smartphone, the group notes that a larger screen is often needed to fully utilize internet-based services.

What they're saying: "Getting older adults online has never been more urgent," OATS said in its report. "The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our nation's systems for social support, communications, and health care, demonstrating that home-based internet and digital skills are an essential lifeline for older adults."

What's next: OATS has a goal to get 1 million more seniors online this year.

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