Wired Up: Senior Renters More Dependent on Home-Based Internet Access
- Most U.S. households use both mobile and home-based internet access.
- Younger renters have a higher propensity to adopt multiple access options.
- Seniors and Baby Boomers have a higher dependency on home-based internet access.
Overlap Between Mobile and Home-Based Internet
In our previous blog, we noted how internet access has increased rapidly across different household groups. Here, we look at the type of usage most popular among renters across age groups.
One of the key aspects of internet usage is the substantial overlap between mobile and home-based internet technologies. Among households with some form of internet access, 73% used both mobile and home-based service. A minority of households (13%) used only one type¹.
While the overlap between mobile and home-based access was similar across renter households, small multifamily renters had lower rates of home-based internet usage alone. Small multifamily renters had a greater dependency on mobile access alone (18%) compared to those in large multifamily (14%).
This dependency is due in part to small multifamily renters having lower incomes.Census Bureau research shows that households with lower incomes have a higher dependency on exclusively mobile access, as this internet access is less expensive than home-based access.
Type of Access Differs Across Age Groups
Looking at access types across age groups presents wider gaps in usage patterns. Younger, tech-savvy households were more likely to have multiple options compared to Seniors and Baby Boomers.
Within small multifamily, about 75% of Millennial-led households had mobile and home-based options, the highest across all age groups. Only 42% of senior households used both mobile and home-based internet.
Conversely, 42% of connected senior households in small multifamily only had home-based internet. This is a significantly higher share than all other age groups, highlighting their initial resistance to mobile adoption.
These distributions are mirrored in large multifamily. Nearly 83% of Millennial-led households had both types. This is compared to only 42% in senior households and 59% for Baby Boomers. Wired dependence for Seniors is even higher within large multifamily (44%).
For small multifamily property owners and managers, the above trends suggest that mobile internet access is not an emerging substitute for home-based high-speed internet access. In fact, leveraging the competition between internet service providers on pricing and bundles could provide better options to current and prospective tenants.
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.