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Computer use increasing among older persons in UNECE region

The 2012 Vienna Ministerial Declaration on Ageing underlines the importance of life-long learning, longer working life and access to information for older persons. A key factor in facilitating the participation of older persons in political, economic, cultural and social life is their access to and usage of computers. As technology changes, it is essential that older generations keep up.

In the UNECE region, computer use among 55-74 year-olds increased between 2010 and 2015.  Considering the 31 countries with data available in both years, the median proportion of persons in this age group who had used a computer in the last three months was 31 per cent in 2010 and this increased to 50 per cent by 2015.

Notably, computer use in this age group increased in all countries with data available and more than doubled in several over this period.  The number of countries where more than 75 per cent of 55-74 year-olds reported computer use rose from four to seven and the number of countries where less than 30 per cent of this age group reported recent computer use dropped from 11 to 3.

These changes indicate substantial progress; however, computer use remains low for this age group in some countries. Though the percentage of users doubled in Turkey between 2010 and 2015, it was still only 12 per cent in 2015. In addition, increases in computer use for 55-74 year-olds over this period were not uniform across the countries with data available. For example, whereas the percentage in Estonia increased from 39 per cent to 67 per cent between 2010 and 2015, in Slovakia it increased from 39 per cent to only 42 per cent over the same period.