Watercooler: Millennials Get All The Cred, But Older Gens Have Also Gone Digital


Millennials aren’t the only generation responsible for the digital boom. Although other generations, namely Gen X (ages 39-54) and Baby Boomers (ages 55-73) are behind in stats, they aren’t far behind. A new study from the Pew Research Center reveals that 93 percent of Millennials own a smartphone, but so do 90 percent of Gen Xers and 68 percent of Baby Boomers. Further, 55 percent of Millennials own tablet computers, as do 52 percent of Gen Xers and 33 percent of Baby Boomers; and 86 percent of Millennials use social media, along with 76 percent of Gen Xers and 59 percent of Baby Boomers. The consensus: nearly everyone is going digital.

The only group that trails behind in the digital arena is the Silent Generation (ages 74-91); 40 percent of this generation own smartphones, 33 percent own tablets and 28 percent use social media. The Silent Generation is also the least likely to see the internet as beneficial for society. According to Pew, 73 percent of Millennials believe the internet has been “mostly good” for society, compared with 63 percent of the Silent Gen. A positive perception of the internet also declined for Gen Xers, dropping from 80 percent believing the internet was “mostly good” in 2014 to 69 percent in 2018; Baby Boomers were one point behind with 68 percent. When asked about whether they believe the internet is “mostly good” for themselves, 90 percent of Millennials agreed, followed by 89 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, respectively, and 78 percent of the Silent Generation.

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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