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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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Europe faces Digital Divide worsened by Age, Income and Education

 - 11/11/2005

TekSapo published the following news item:

The majority of Europeans who use the Internet are young (85 percent) in comparison to a minority of adults over 55 (13 percent). Income and education are some of the other factors that determine Europeans’ use of the Internet. The data originates from a Eurostat study that analysed 25 European Union countries between April and June 2004, reaching the conclusion that there is a "digital divide” in Europe.

Although European governments have taken measures to boost the use of technologies, with a view to driving growth and competitiveness, Internet use in Europe is still low at 47 percent of the population.

While 85 percent of school or university students aged between 16 and 24 use the Internet regularly, 13 percent of adults aged between 55 and 74 used the Internet during the period studied only.

As regards income, the study reveals that 40 percent of unemployed citizens use the Internet, yet the percentage for citizens with jobs is higher (60 percent).

As for education, the percentage of graduates who use the Internet is higher (77 percent) when compared with use by citizens who have finished secondary schooling (52 percent) and those who have not yet completed higher education (25 percent).

The situation in Portugal is similar with students topping the Internet use ranking (91 percent), in comparison with the unemployed (13 percent) and retirees (3 percent).

Sweden (82 percent), the Nordic countries Denmark (76 percent) and Finland (70 percent) top the table for computer and Internet use, with Greece (with 20 percent) bringing up the rear.

Eurostat highlights “the lack of access infrastructure, lack of initiatives to use information and communication technologies, difficulties using computers or the need for skills to be part of the information society” as causes for this European situation.

The Eurostat study draws from surveys of 204,029 citizens from 25 EU Member States between April and June 2004.

Of further note this year is the fact that the UN has announced it will be developing an international project, "Connect the World", to cut the digital divide between rich and poor countries. It will work in partnership with technology companies, including Microsoft and Alcatel.

Last updated ( 01/08/2011 )