Connect Iowa Releases Report on Senior Citizen Technology Use PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Jessica Ditto   
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:03

Low Broadband Adoption Threatens to Separate Seniors from Critical Services

Des Moines, IA – Today, Connect Iowa is releasing a new report focusing on technology adoption and use by Iowa’s senior citizens. The report, titled Iowa’s Silent Generation: Resilient, More Experienced, but Disconnected, gives an in-depth look at the challenges Iowa seniors face in embracing the technology that can deeply impact their quality of life. Lack of broadband adoption is particularly alarming as a growing number of services and opportunities migrate online.

High-speed Internet is becoming increasingly important for access to government services, healthcare resources, and countless other personal tasks like banking, shopping, and communicating with family and friends. The issue of elderly technology adoption is especially important in Iowa because the state has the sixth largest share of residents over the age of 70 in the nation, but the senior broadband adoption rate is slightly below the national average.

The new Connect Iowa research shows:

  • While nearly three out of four Iowans (72%) age 18-54 subscribe to home broadband service, only 63% of Iowans age 55-69 subscribe to broadband.
  • A mere 27% of Iowans age 70 and older subscribe to broadband.
  • Approximately 260,000 elderly Iowans (age 70 and older) are not benefiting from broadband.
  • 47% of Iowans age 70+ (approximately 169,000) do not own a computer.

Iowa’s elderly technology statistics grow even more troublesome when factors like disabilities, living alone, or living in rural areas are taken into consideration. The report also found a disturbing “gray gap” when looking at the number of seniors who make use of mobile broadband technology through devices like smart phones and digital tablets.

The new report sheds light on the many barriers seniors point to for not using broadband. Thirty-nine percent say they simply don’t understand how broadband is relevant to their lives; 24% say digital literacy is their problem and they don’t know how to use a computer or the Internet. However, of those Iowans over age 70 who do subscribe to home Internet service, 56% say they go online on a daily basis.

“Broadband offers Iowa’s senior citizens new power and independence,” says Connect Iowa Program Manager Amy Kuhlers. “With an interactive link to family and friends, as well as increased access to healthcare information and services, broadband is empowering them to live more independently while enabling them to engage more fully with society.”

Connect Iowa is actively working to bridge the technology “gray gap” in Iowa to ensure all seniors have access to the life-enhancing and lifesaving applications and services made possible by a home broadband subscription. Increasing broadband usage among these Iowans now can help many Iowans live longer, healthier, more independent lives.

Anyone with an interest in bringing better broadband to local homes and businesses is encouraged to join in the Connect Iowa community planning effort. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Amy Kuhlers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-421-2561.

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About Connect Iowa: Connect Iowa is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Iowa to promote broadband access, adoption, and use. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is leading the initiative to increase broadband Internet access throughout rural Iowa. Connect Iowa was commissioned by the state to work with all broadband providers in Iowa to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and develop a statewide plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband. For more information visit:

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