Senior Renter Internet Usage Gaining Bandwidth
- Nearly 87% of all U.S. households have some form of access to the internet.
- Multifamily renters have lower internet adoption rates due to a higher prevalence of senior renters.
- Senior renters are quickly gaining ground. Their access rates are growing the fastest of any age cohort.
Internet Access Lower Among Senior Renters
While internet usage is pervasive in today’s society, technology usage still varies significantly across household segments. Factors such as user age, income and education level play a role.
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly 87% of all U.S. households had some form of internet access by 2018. Apartment renters trailed the national average. Small and large multifamily residents had access rates of 83% and 77%, respectively¹.
This is mainly because of the high level of senior renter households. This segment had the lowest internet adoption rates of all age groups.
Only about 56% of senior households (defined as those with a head of household age 65 or older) in small multifamily and 52% in large multifamily properties had internet access.
Senior Segment Usage Growing Rapidly
Senior renter households, while late to the party, are becoming increasingly skilled at internet adoption. This is because more tech-savvy baby boomers are aging into the senior status. There are also a growing number of aging support services offered through apps.
The above trends are most prevalent in urban-located apartments, where app-based services are well supported. Senior household access increased by 11% between 2015 and 2017 in small multifamily and by 10% in large multifamily.
In contrast, the increase in internet adoption among this age group in the more suburban single-family rentals (SFR) was slightly lower at 8%, while the overall U.S. increase was only 6%.
The adoption rates for other households (those with a head of household under 65 years old) fell in line with the overall U.S. population average, with increases ranging from 5 to 7 percentage points. These households constituted the bulk of internet users.
As internet access continues to expand rapidly among all household types, especially with the advent of mobile broadband, users may look for a complement of technology choices, including home-based high-speed connections that property managers need to take into account.
1 All data is sourced from the American Community Survey (ACS), unless otherwise stated. ACS statistics are sample-based estimates of the compositional profile of the total population in the given year of data collection, and include a margin of error.