Publication - Statistics

Scotland's People Annual Report: Results from 2013 Scottish Household Survey: Revised October 2015

Published: 13 Aug 2014
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781784127428

A National Statistics publication for Scotland, providing reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish households and adults across a number of topic areas including local government, neighbourhoods, health and transport.

217 page PDF

2.2 MB

217 page PDF

2.2 MB

Contents
Scotland's People Annual Report: Results from 2013 Scottish Household Survey: Revised October 2015
8 Internet

217 page PDF

2.2 MB

8 Internet

INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all of Scotland is well positioned to take full advantage of all opportunities offered by the digital age. This includes a vision of a Scotland where businesses and individuals are making effective use of the digital infrastructure available to them, and where digital technology is supporting economic growth, social cohesion and future innovation[74].

Part of the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy[75] is to increase digital participation. Digital participation refers to people’s ability to gain access to digital technology and to use it effectively and creatively. Being able to access and use the internet provides access to a range of political, educational, cultural and economic resources and it is thereby an important facilitator of social inclusion. Ultimately, increased digital participation can improve people’s quality of life, boost economic growth and allow for more effective delivery of public services.

The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) provides information on a number of relevant areas of digital participation that can be used to measure progress. This chapter begins by looking at take-up of internet and broadband by households in Scotland, with a focus on how this varies by income and area. It then looks at personal use of internet – including where and how the internet is accessed – by key demographic factors, such as age and gender, health status, income and deprivation. The following section looks at reasons why adults do not use the internet. The final part looks at use of Government and local authority websites to access information and services.

Main Findings

  • 78 per cent of Scottish households reported having internet access at home in 2013. This continued the trend of increasing home internet access over the past decade (up from 42 per cent in 2003). The vast majority of households with internet access at home reported having a broadband connection (95 per cent). Across all households, 74 per cent had broadband at home.
  • The prevalence of home internet access increased with net annual household income, from 56 per cent of households with incomes of £15,000 or less, up to 98 per cent of those with an income greater than £40,000.
  • Home internet access rates also showed significant difference by deprivation, where households in the 15 per cent most deprived areas were less likely to have internet access at home compared to the rest of Scotland (64 per cent compared to 81 per cent). There appears to be no consistent relationship between internet access at home and the level of rurality.
  • One-fifth (20 per cent) of adults reported not using the internet at all, an improvement on the 22 per cent reported in 2012. There was a clear relationship between age and use of the internet, with lower proportions of older respondents using the internet. However, it should be noted that the proportion of older people using the internet has increased greatly in the decade up to 2013 (25 per cent of those aged 75 and over reported using the internet in 2013, compared with four per cent in 2003).
  • The ways in which people access the internet are becoming increasingly diverse. In particular, the proportion of people accessing the internet on the move using for example a smart phone or a tablet has increased from a quarter (25 per cent) in 2012 to 30 per cent in 2013.
  • The SHS asked adults who make no personal use of the internet the reasons why they do not. Among the most common responses were people saying that they do not like or need to use the internet/computers (34 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively); and that they do not know how to use a computer (29 per cent).

HOUSEHOLD INTERNET AND BROADBAND TAKE UP

The SHS has asked whether households currently have access to the internet from their home every year since 2003. The proportion of households with home internet access has seen a gradual increase year on year since 2003 (Figure 8.1), rising from 42 per cent of households surveyed in 2003 to reach 78 per cent of households in 2013.

Figure 8.1: Households with home internet access by year

2003-2013 data, Households (base minimum, 2012: 3,420)

Figure 8.1: Households with home internet access by year

Home internet access increased with net annual household income (Figure 8.2) - although there was a break in the pattern for income bracket £6,001-£10,000 which appears to repeat annually. A possible explanation for this is that students, who are overrepresented in the lowest income bracket, are very likely to have access to internet at home (93 per cent in 2013). This will therefore boost the internet access figure in the £0-£6,000 income group. In 2013, 56 per cent of households with incomes of £15,000 or less had home internet access, increasing to 98 per cent of households with incomes over £40,000.

Figure 8.2: Households with home internet access by net annual household income[76]

2013 data, Households (base minimum, £0-6,000: 90)

Figure 8.2: Households with home internet access by net annual household income

Figure 8.3 shows that households in the 15 per cent most deprived areas[77] were significantly less likely than those in the rest of Scotland to have access to the internet at home, at 64 per cent and 81 per cent respectively. Internet access did not change significantly between 2012 and 2013 among households in the 15 per cent most deprived areas, having seen a four percentage point increase between 2011 and 2012.

Figure 8.3: Households with home internet access by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 15 per cent most deprived areas

2013 data, Households (base minimum: 15 per cent most deprived: 510)

Figure 8.3: Households with home internet access by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 15 percent most deprived areas

Similarly, Figure 8.4 shows that there was a significant difference in internet access by tenure, where 84 per cent of households who own their home had home internet access, compared to 85 per cent of those in private rented housing and 58 per cent of those in social rented housing.

Figure 8.4: Households with internet access at home by tenure

2013 data, Households (base minimum, Other: 80)

Figure 8.4: Households with internet access at home by tenure

Figure 8.5 shows the prevalence of home internet access by type of area, based on the Urban Rural Classification[78]. The proportion of households with home internet access was higher in accessible and remote rural areas than in urban areas. Home internet access in remote rural areas has increased since 2012 (from 75 per cent to 86 per cent in 2013).

Figure 8.5: Households with home internet access by Urban Rural Classification

2013 data, Households (base minimum, Remote small towns: 210)

Figure 8.5: Households with home internet access by Urban Rural Classification

Since 2007, the SHS has asked households who reported having access to the internet from home if they have a broadband connection[79]. The vast majority of households with internet access at home had broadband (95 per cent). Across all households, 74 per cent had broadband at home. The proportion of households with access to the internet through a broadband connection has risen from 87 per cent in 2007, however in recent years this figure seems to have reached a saturation point of around 95 per cent.

There appears to be no significant differences in broadband uptake among households who had internet access at home depending on level of deprivation or the level of rurality; more than nine out of ten households in these groups had a broadband connection. Similarly, there was relatively little variation by income among households with internet access at home who had broadband. The only exception is those in income group £6,001-£10,000 who stand out with the lowest level of broadband uptake at 87 per cent. Broadband uptake in all other income groups varied between 92 per cent and 99 per cent. Households with a net annual income of £30,001 or more saw the highest levels of broadband uptake[80].

INTERNET USE

In addition to the questions on household take up of internet and broadband, the SHS asks a randomly selected adult in the household whether they use the internet these days, either for work or personal use. Overall, 80 per cent of adults said that they used the internet in 2013. Just 1 per cent of those said that they only used it for work purposes, suggesting that the majority of users make use of the internet, at least sometimes, for personal purposes.

The following section mainly focuses on those who do not use the internet at all. In order to increase digital participation and enable more people to enjoy the benefits that internet use can bring, it is important to identify if there are any groups of people that face any particular barriers accessing or using the internet. In particular, the section looks at those who do not use the internet by age, health, income, level of deprivation and tenure.

Figure 8.6 shows that there is a clear relationship between age and use of internet, with significantly lower rates of internet use among older respondents. Only 3 per cent of adults aged 16 to 34 reported not using the internet, whereas the corresponding proportion of those aged 75 and over is 75 per cent.

Overall there was no significant difference in use of internet between the genders. However, a gender gap becomes apparent in older age groups, where 57 per cent of men and 46 per cent of women aged 60 and over stated that they use the internet. Internet use among men aged 60 and over has increased by 10 percentage points since 2012, while internet use among women in the same age group has remained roughly the same (down 1 percentage point)[81].

Figure 8.6: Use of internet by age

2013 data, Adults (base minimum, 16 to 24: 380)

Figure 8.6: Use of internet by age

Around two-fifths (38 per cent) of those who have some form of a longstanding physical or mental health condition or illness[82] reported not using the internet, compared with 13 per cent of those who do not have any such condition (Figure 8.7 and Table 8.1). However, there was no statistically significant difference in internet use among those with and without a longstanding health condition in the younger age groups (aged 16 to 34), suggesting that the relatively low level of internet use among all those with a longstanding health condition can in part be a reflection of the low levels of internet use among older people. This is supported by evidence in the Health Chapter (Chapter 9), which demonstrates the very strong correlation between health status and age (older people are more likely to have a long-term physical or mental health condition).

Figure 8.7: Proportion of adults who do not use the internet by age and whether they have a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last 12 months or more

2013 data, Adults (base minimum, 16 to 24, has a physical or mental health condition or illness: 50)

Figure 8.7: Proportion of adults who do not use the internet by age and whether they have a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last 12 months or more

Table 8.1: Proportion of adults who do not use the internet by age and whether they have a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last 12 months or more

Column percentages, 2013 data

Adults Does not have a physical or mental health condition or illness Has a physical or mental health condition or illness All
16 to 24
Internet user 98 95 98
Does not use the internet at all 2 5 2
Base 330 50 380
25 to 34
Internet user 97 92 96
Does not use the internet at all 3 8 4
Base 590 100 690
35 to 44
Internet user 96 86 94
Does not use the internet at all 4 14 6
Base 560 140 700
45 to 59
Internet user 88 74 84
Does not use the internet at all 12 26 16
Base 920 390 1,310
60 to 74
Internet user 70 54 63
Does not use the internet at all 30 46 37
Base 640 520 1,160
75 plus
Internet user 30 22 25
Does not use the internet at all 70 78 75
Base 260 360 620
All
Internet user 87 62 80
Does not use the internet at all 13 38 20
Base 3,300 1,560 4,860

As with the previous data presented on household internet access, there were also differences in the use of internet by net annual household income (Figure 8.8). In general, the proportion of adults who reported using the internet increases as income increases - with the exception of those living in households with a net annual income of £6,000 or less. As above, a likely explanation for this is that students, 99 per cent of whom state that they use the internet, are overrepresented in this income bracket. Only 3 per cent of adults who live in a household with an annual income in excess of £40,000 stated that they do not use the internet.

Figure 8.8: Use of the internet by net annual household income

2013 data, Adults (base minimum, £0-6,000: 140)

Figure 8.8: Use of the internet by net annual household income

A much greater proportion of adults living in the 15 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland said that they do not use the internet (30 per cent) compared to those living in the rest of the country (18 per cent) (Figure 8.9).

Figure 8.9: Use of the internet by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 15 per cent most deprived areas

2013 data, Adults (base minimum, 15 per cent most deprived: 710)

Figure 8.9: Use of the internet by Scottish Index of multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 15 percent most deprived areas

Internet use also differs by tenure (Figure 8.10), where a significantly greater proportion of adults living in social rented housing reported not using the internet (35 per cent) compared to those in private rented housing (8 per cent) and those who own the property they live in (16 per cent).

Figure 8.10: Use of the internet by tenure

2013 data, Adults (base minimum, Other: 100)

Figure 8.10: Use of the internet by tenure

WHERE AND HOW USERS ACCESS THE INTERNET

The ways in which people access the internet are becoming increasingly diverse. Since 2007 the SHS has asked adults who use the internet for personal use about the location where they access it and which methods they use. Table 8.2 shows that almost all (96 per cent) adults who said that they use the internet access it at home. Just under one-third (30 per cent) said that they access the internet on the move using a mobile phone or a tablet - an increase of five percentage points since 2012. Around a quarter (26 per cent) said that they make personal use of the internet at work.

There appears to be a relationship between age and accessing the internet on the move, in 2013 just over two-fifths of users aged 16 to 34 reported accessing the internet on the move compared to 10 per cent of users aged 60 to 74[83]. However, it should be noted that the proportion of people aged 60 to 74 who access the internet on the move is up 7 percentage points from 2012.

Table 8.2: Where adults who use the internet access it for personal use

Column percentages, 2013 data

Adults who make personal use of the internet
At home 96
On the move via a mobile phone/smart phone/tablet 30
At work 26
At another person's home 9
School, college, university, other educational institution 8
Public library 4
Internet café or shop 3
A government/council office 1
Community or voluntary centre/organisation 0
Somewhere else 1
Don't know 0
Base 2,370

Columns may add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses allowed

There also seems to be a relationship between net annual household income and where users access the internet for personal use. Adults in lower income households were more likely to access the internet at a public library and at some kind of educational institution, and they were slightly less likely to access the internet from home (Table 8.3). The proportion of people accessing the internet on the move or at work increases as household income goes up.

Table 8.3: Where adults who use the internet for personal use access it by annual net income[84]

Column percentages, 2013 data

Adults who make personal use of the internet £0 - £10,000 £10,000 - £20,000 £20,000 - £30,000 30,000+ All
At home 88 93 97 99 96
On the move via a mobile phone/smartphone/tablet 24 22 27 37 30
At work 6 14 20 41 27
At another person's home 13 9 9 8 9
School, college, university, other educational institution 22 4 8 6 7
Public library 12 5 4 3 4
Internet café or shop 3 1 4 4 3
A government/council office 1 0 0 1 1
Community or voluntary centre/organisation 1 1 0 0 0
Somewhere else 2 1 1 1 1
Don't know 1 - 0 - 0
Base 210 680 550 870 2,300

Columns may add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses allowed

The SHS also asks about methods used to access the internet for personal use. The vast majority of internet users (93 per cent) used a personal computer or laptop, although it should be noted that this figure is down 3 percentage points from 2012. A possible explanation for this decrease is that a significantly greater proportion now access the internet through other methods, including mobile phones, tablets, game consoles and televisions (63 per cent in 2013 compared to 46 per cent in 2012) (Table 8.4). In particular, the proportion of people using mobile phones to access internet has increased from 42 per cent in 2012 to 56 per cent in 2013, and the proportion accessing internet using tablets is up from 11 per cent in 2012 to 28 per cent in 2013.

Use of alternative methods to access the internet appears to be more prevalent among younger age groups, with 87 per cent of 16-24 year old internet users reporting using alternative methods compared to 11 per cent of internet users aged 75 and over.

Table 8.4: Which methods are used to access the internet for personal use by age

Column percentages, 2013 data

Adults who make personal use of the internet 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60-74 75+ All
A personal computer or laptop 90 91 93 95 97 98 93
Other 87 75 73 57 33 11 63
Mobile phone/iPhone/Smartphone 80 72 67 45 21 5 56
A tablet - iPad/Playbook or similar 22 28 38 30 19 8 28
A games console/PS2/xBox 25 15 14 4 1 0 11
Digital, cable or satellite television 9 8 9 5 3 1 6
Another way 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
Base 240 430 450 700 450 100 2,370

Columns may add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses allowed

WHY PEOPLE DO NOT USE THE INTERNET

The SHS asked adults who make no personal use of internet the reasons why they do not (Table 8.5). Among the most common responses in 2013 were that respondents do not like or do not need to use the internet/computers (34 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively). Other reasons for not using the internet were related to lack of digital skills, where 29 per cent stated that they do not know how to use a computer and 11 per cent said that it would be too difficult to learn. Cost also seems to be an issue, with 10 per cent saying that they could not afford a computer.

Table 8.5: Reasons why people might not use the internet (other than work)

Percentages, 2013 data

Adults who make no personal use of the internet
I don't like using the internet or computers 34
I don't need to use the internet or computers 30
I don't know how to use a computer 29
There's nothing of interest to me on the internet 17
I prefer to do things in person rather than use computers 11
It would be too difficult to learn how to use the internet 11
I can't afford a computer 10
Other reason 6
I am concerned about privacy, e.g. keeping credit card or personal details safe 4
I have a disability or illness that prevents me 3
Internet connection would be too expensive 2
I am worried about the unsuitable or inappropriate material on the internet 2
Base 850

Columns may add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses allowed

Looking into the characteristics of those who do not use the internet and their reasons for not using it in a bit more in detail, the responses show that people on lower incomes (between £0-£10,000) were much more likely to state that they can’t afford a computer as a reason for not using the internet (22 per cent) compared with higher income groups (ranging from 10 per cent to none). Those with a net annual household income greater than £30,000 were more likely to state that they don’t know how to use a computer (33 per cent) compared to those in the £0-£10,000 income group (25 per cent)[85].

A greater proportion of those with a long-standing physical or mental health condition stated that they don’t know how to use a computer (33 per cent, compared to 25 per cent of those without a long-standing health condition), and that it would be too difficult to learn (14 per cent, compared with 6 per cent of those that don’t have a health condition). Six per cent of those with a longstanding health condition stated that they had a disability or illness that prevents them as a reason for not using the internet.

More detailed results and further breakdowns are available in the web tables.

USE OF LOCAL AUTHORITY AND GOVERNMENT WEBSITES

It is possible to access an increasing number of public services and information online. Online services and information can be quicker and more convenient for people to use, and can be provided at a lower cost than other methods. However, a person’s use of websites to access public services is dependent both upon them having access to the internet and their tendency to access information or services online. The SHS explores people’s use of digitally delivered public services by asking which, if any, things the respondent had ever used their local council website and (non-specified) government websites for.

Table 8.6 presents the proportions of internet users who, in 2013, reported having ever used a local council or government website. It should be noted that these figures do not take into account whether people have actually needed to access information or use these services in the first place (for example, only car owners require road tax and few people each year need to renew their passport).

In 2013, over half (56 per cent) of internet users had made use of a local authority website for any purpose, and 64 per cent have used a government website. Most common among those who have used local authority websites is to find information (44 per cent), download a form (13 per cent) or make a payment (13 per cent). Most common among those who have used government website is to apply for road tax (41 per cent), apply for or renew TV license (23 per cent) and apply for or renew passport (17 per cent).

Table 8.6: Use (ever) of public services on the internet

Column percentages, 2013 data

Adults
Local authority website
Any purpose 56
Find information 44
Download a form 13
Make payment like council tax or parking fine 13
Access services like report a fault, renew library books, planning applications 9
Ask a question 8
Make a complaint 7
Participate in a discussion forum or consultation 2
Used for some other purpose 8
None of these 44
Base 2,410
Government website
Any purpose 64
Apply for road tax 41
Apply for or renew my TV license 23
Apply for or renew passport 17
Look for information about health services 14
Complete income tax assessment 12
Register to vote 12
Look for information about health or healthy living 9
Apply for benefits 5
Other 9
None of these 36
Base 2,410

Columns may add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.


Contact

Email: Andrew Craik