At risk of exclusion? Degrees of ICT access and literacy among senior citizens

Tobias Olsson, Ulli Samuelsson, Dino Viscovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (SciVal)


Drawing on data derived from a nationwide postal survey (n = 1264) with a simple random sample of Swedes between ages 65 and 85 (response rate: 63%), the article analyses the general patterns of: (a) degrees of information and communication (ICT) access and (b) ICT-literacy among Swedish senior citizens. The overall patterns of access and literacy are analysed in light of senior citizens’ assets – conceptualized as material, discursive and social resources – and their age and gender. The analysis reveals a positive correlation between levels of material (e.g., income), discursive (e.g., English skills) and social (e.g., social networks) resources and access to ICT. With greater resources, the average number of devices increases. The analysis also reveals a positive correlation between discursive and social resources and ICT-literacy. Gender has no bearing on access to devices, but might have some effect on ICT-literacy. The correlation between age, access and literacy is negative. With increasing age, both access and literacy decreases. In this respect, the study reveals a generational effect. However, since all three resources tend to decrease over the life cycle, the results are also discussed in terms of an age effect. These data and our analyses are contextualized by a critical discussion that reflects on the implications of these general patterns: What do they mean for senior citizens’ abilities to be included and participate in a continuously digitalizing society?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-72
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number1
Early online date2017 Jul 21
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 2

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Aspects of ICT


  • digitalization
  • exclusion
  • ICT-access
  • ICT-literacy
  • inclusion
  • Senior citizens


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