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U.S. Seniors are Growing Internet User Group

According to the latest Nielsen market study, Internet users that are 65+ years of age make up less than 10 percent of the active universe, but their numbers are on the rise.

In the last five years, the number of seniors actively using the Internet has increased by more than 55 percent -- from 11.3 million users in November 2004 to 17.5 million in November 2009.

Among people 65+, the growth of women in the last five years has outpaced the growth of men by 6 percentage points.

More people 65+ are going online and they are also spending more time on the Web. Online time for seniors increased 11 percent in the last five years -- from approximately 52 hours per month in November 2004 to just over 58 hours in 2009.

"The over 65 crowd represents about 13 percent of the total population and with this increase in online usage, they are beginning to catch up with their offline numbers," notes Chuck Schilling, research director, at Nielsen.

Online visitors 65 and older partake in a variety of activities, from e-mail to bill paying. With 88.6 percent of seniors, checking personal e-mail was the number one online activity performed in the last 30 days. Viewing or printing online maps and checking the weather online were the second and third most popular online activities -- with 68.6 and 60.1 percent, respectively.

The number one online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors.

Overall, the number of unique visitors who are 65 or older on social networking and blog sites has increased 53 percent in the last two years alone. Moreover, 8.2 percent of all social network and blog visitors are over 65, just 0.1 percentage points less than the number of teenagers who frequent these sites.

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