Europe’s Digital Divide

“A digital divide has appeared among Europeans, with age, income and education determining whether the continent’s citizens use the Internet”, at least this is the conclusion of a new study conducted by Eurostat on behalf of the EU commission.The largest divide by educational level was found in Portugal, and the smallest in Lithuania, only in the Netherlands did more than half of the retired population use the internet. Only in Sweden (70%), Denmark (64%), Finland (54%) and Germany (51%) did more than half of the lower educated use the internet during the first quarter of 2004, while the proportion of the higher educated who used the internet fell below 50% only in Lithuania (38%) and Greece (48%). Now why do I not find all this particularly surprising?

In the EU25, 85% of students (aged 16 or more in school or university) used the internet during the first quarter of 2004, as did 60% of employees, 40% of the unemployed and 13% of the retired, compared to an EU25 average of 47% for individuals aged from 16 to 74. This divide by employment status is also found by educational level: only 25% of those with at most lower secondary education used the internet during the first quarter of 2004, while the proportion rose to 52% for those who had completed secondary education, and 77% for those with a tertiary education.