Internet use

The main facts and figures show that:

  • overall, 90% of people aged 16 years and over had used the internet in the 3 months prior to being surveyed (making them ‘recent internet users’)
  • the White ethnic group had the lowest percentage of recent internet users (at 89%) and the Other ethnic group (including people with Mixed ethnicity) had the highest (at 96%)
  • only minor differences in internet use were found between regions and ethnic groups
  • among people aged between 16 and 54 years, there were broadly similar percentages of recent internet users in all ethnic groups (around 95% or more) – some differences emerged between ethnic groups for those aged 55 years and over
Things you need to know

Results have been excluded (‘suppressed’) for ethnic groups, age groups, and regions where sample sizes were too small to generate reliable results.

For example, there were 22 respondents aged 75 years or older in the Other ethnic group, which is too small a sample to produce a reliable estimate. The results for this age group were therefore excluded.

Even where results are given, the estimates of internet use for ethnic groups by region and by age are based on smaller sample sizes than the estimates for the UK population as a whole. For this reason, they are not reliable enough to draw firm conclusions.

The Office for National Statistics publishes the annual Internet access – households and individuals statistical bulletin, which provides more information than the Labour Force Survey on the range of activities carried out on the internet. However, its estimates are less reliable because they are derived from the Opinion and Lifestyle Survey, which has a much smaller size than the Labour Force Survey. For this reason, you should avoid making comparisons between the two.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people aged 16 years or older in the UK who are recent internet users.

Respondents are categorised as ‘recent’ if they have used the internet in the last 3 months.

Counts of the number of people using the internet recently are estimates (in thousands) based on the survey results and population estimates.

The data comes from the Labour Force Survey, part of which asks respondents about their internet use.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Although more detailed data exists for internet use analysed by ethnicity, results are variable and are not broken down further by age or region. Therefore, the data is categorised into the following 4 broad groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • White (including White ethnic minorities)
  • Other including Mixed

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Internet use by ethnicity

Percentage and number of people aged 16 years and over who had used the internet in the past 3 months, by ethnicity

Ethnicity % No. of people (thousands)
All 90 47,535
Asian 94 3,064
Black 91 1,352
White 89 41,825
Other inc Mixed 96 1,294

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • 96% of people in the Other ethnic group (including people with Mixed ethnicity) were recent internet users, the highest percentage of any ethnic group
  • 89% of people in the White ethnic group were recent internet users, the lowest percentage of any ethnic group

Internet use by ethnicity and area

Percentage and number of people aged 16 years and over who had used the internet in the past 3 months, by ethnicity and area

All Asian Black White Other inc Mixed
Geography % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands)
UK 90 47,535 94 3,064 91 1,352 89 41,825 96 1,294
North East 88 1,879 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 87 1,791 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
North West 89 5,140 93 264 94 90 89 4,682 96 104
Yorkshire and the Humber 88 3,831 91 242 91 50 87 3,465 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
East Midlands 88 3,372 89 184 96 92 88 3,031 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
West Midlands 89 4,102 94 422 87 145 88 3,443 98 92
East of England 91 4,482 96 170 89 81 90 4,146 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
London 93 6,578 93 1,171 90 702 93 4,154 95 551
South East 92 6,670 97 354 97 89 91 6,065 99 162
South West 90 4,035 97 79 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 90 3,851 92 65
Wales 89 2,247 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 89 2,169 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Scotland 89 3,943 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 89 3,806 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Northern Ireland 86 1,254 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 85 1,221 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in London, recent internet use was broadly similar for all ethnic groups, ranging from 90% to 95%
  • for some ethnic groups, regions and countries (particularly Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the North East) sample sizes were too small to draw firm conclusions

Internet use by ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of people aged 16 years and over who had used the internet in the past 3 months, by ethnicity and age group

All Asian Black White Other inc Mixed
Age Bracket % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands) % No. of people (thousands)
16-24 99 6,991 100 623 97 260 99 5,805 100 303
25-34 99 8,888 99 826 98 280 99 7,476 98 305
35-44 99 8,139 97 783 97 302 99 6,742 97 312
45-54 97 8,809 95 476 96 301 97 7,824 98 207
55-64 92 7,185 84 240 90 162 92 6,678 90 104
65-74 80 5,261 63 77 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 81 5,105 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
75+ 44 2,262 41 37 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 44 2,195 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • within every ethnic group, at least 97% of people aged 16 to 24 years were recent internet users
  • in every ethnic group, over 90% of people aged between 16 and 54 years were recent internet users
  • although, overall, White people were less likely than other ethnic groups to have been recent internet users, this was not the case for older people – among adults aged 65 to 74 years, the White ethnic group had a larger proportion of internet users than the Asian ethnic group

Methodology

Methodology

The estimates are derived from the LFS from the period January to March 2018, and are not seasonally adjusted.

The sample used for this data is made up of approximately 40,000 UK households and 100,000 individuals per quarter. The sampling frame used is the Postcode Address File and NHS communal accommodation.

The Labour Force Survey uses calibration weighting. Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population. The weights here are formed using a population weighting procedure which involves weighting data to sub-regional population estimates and then adjusting for the estimated age and sex composition by region.

Estimation to population totals and projections are based on the 2011 Census.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Data was suppressed in groups with small sample sizes, because it is not possible to produce robust estimates with small sample sizes.

For example, in the 75+ age group in the Other including Mixed ethnic group, the sample size was only 22, which is too small to produce a reliable estimate. The results for this age group were therefore suppressed.

Statistical disclosure control methodology is applied to the Labour Force Survey data (the source for this data). This ensures that information attributable to an individual is not disclosed in any publication, and that confidentiality of respondents is protected in data sets.

As an example, the results for the 65 to 74 group in the Other including Mixed ethnic group were suppressed (it had a fairly small sample of 59). This was done to ensure that the results for the 75+ group in the Other including Mixed ethnic group could not be worked out by deduction.

The Code of Practice for Official Statistics, and specifically Principle 5, Confidentiality, sets out the principles for protecting data from being disclosed. The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 includes data confidentiality regulations which apply to Office of National Statistics (ONS). More information about disclosure control on data tables and data sets is available on the ONS website.

Rounding

We round numbers, and for this reason some figures may not add up.

Related publications

Internet access – households and individuals

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Further quality and methodology information, user guides and example questionnaires can be accessed on the ONS website

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The primary purpose of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is to provide good quality estimates each month for various aspects of the labour market. The LFS also allows users to see how these labour market measures change over time. The LFS also collects data on internet use.

Download the data

Internet use - Spreadsheet (csv) 12 KB

This file contains the following: year, ethnicity, geography, age group, value, confidence Intervals, number