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Congress

Age Gap Narrowing In Use Of Mobile Devices

February 3, 2011

A new report by the Pew Research Center released Thursday shows that older Americans are catching up to younger generations in their use and ownership of electronic devices.

According to the report, 85 percent of adults own cell phones, with 90 percent of all adults living in a household with at least one mobile phone. Perhaps more surprising, more than 60 percent of adults 75 and older live in households with cell phones.

Despite the increase in mobile electronics, desktop computers remain the most popular with adults ages 35-65, while 70 percent of younger adults own a laptop, the report states. Mp3 players are also most popular among adults ages 18-34, but almost half of all adults say they rock out with a mobile music player.

Where do the generations agree? On game consoles, tablets and e-book readers, according to the report. Sixty-three percent of American adults say they own an electronic game system. E-books and tablets readers remain new, and relatively rare, electronic devices for Americans. Only 4 percent of adults said they own an iPad or other tablet computer and 5 percent reported owning e-book readers.

As expected, the oldest Americans tend to lag behind their younger neighbors in use of new technologies. While 9 percent of all Americans said they do not own any of the devices in the study, 43 percent of adults over 75 say they don't own any such devices.

According to the study, younger "Millennials" between 18 and 34 years old not only owned more devices, but used a wider range of functions.

"For instance, most cell phone owners only use two of the main non-voice functions on their phones: taking pictures and text messaging," the report states. "However, most Millennials also use their phones to surf the internet, send email, play games, listen to music, and record videos."

The study, which included 1,000 interviews by cell phone, was based on a survey of 3,001 American adults and was conducted in August and September 2010. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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