Seven million adults ‘have never used internet’

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More than seven million adults in the UK have never used the internet, official figures suggest.

The data revealed around one million more people have ventured on to the web since this time last year. But the latest statistics show 14 per cent of those over the age of 16 have never accessed material online.

Significantly more women than men have never used the internet (4.2 million compared with 2.8 million), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

It found 326,000 adults used the internet for the first time between January and March this year.

The ONS said: “Internet use is linked to various socio-economic and demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, disability, geographical location and weekly earnings. For example, those who are less likely to have used the internet include elderly and disabled adults.”

A breakdown of the population by age showed almost all of those between 16 and 24 (99 per cent) have used the web. Those least likely to have connected were 75 or over. However, there was a marked increase in internet users among people of this age in the past two years. At the beginning of 2011, estimates suggested 23.8 per cent of this demographic had accessed the internet, compared with 34.3 per cent this year (1.6 million people). The 3.1 million non-users aged 75 or over make up 43 per cent of the 7.1 million who have never connected.