Big divide in internet use in Philippines by age, education level – report

Gelo Gonzales
Big divide in internet use in Philippines by age, education level – report
A new Pew Research Center survey reveals considerable internet usage gaps among older and younger Filipinos, and those with low and high educational attainment

MANILA, Philippines – The Pew Research Center.released a set of charts on global internet usage and access demographics on Friday, April 3. It found younger people, as well as those in in wealthier countries or with greater incomes, were more likely to use digital technology. 

The charts also represented a survey of who used social media, but the Pew report said “social media usage is not ubiquitous, even in economically advanced nations like Germany and Japan.”

The charts are based on information gleaned from a survey across 34 countries, which sought to determine “digital divides” in internet, smartphone, and social media use by age, income, and educational attainment.

For the Philippines, two statistics stood out the most. The country has the 4th highest differential when it comes to internet use by age. 94% of 18- to 29-year-olds use the internet, at least occasionally, or own a smartphone. For the 50-plus crowd, the number is 36%, which makes for a percentage differential of 58. Indonesia has the highest, with a 65-point disparity while South Korea has the lowest, with a 5-point differential. 

The divide between these two age groups is generally greater in emerging economies, but less stark in more advanced economies like Canada and the Netherlands,” said the report. 

The second distinctive statistic for the country is the disparity of internet users by educational attainment. Some 86% of those with higher education, defined by the study as those who finish secondary education and above, use the internet, at least occasionally, or have a smartphone. The number is 44% for those in the lower education bracket. The 42-point difference puts the country on the 5th highest spot. 

Nigeria topped the said statistic, with a 60-point difference, while South Korea it lowest again with a 4-point difference. Developed nations also show smaller differentials than emerging countries in this statistic. 

In terms of income, the usage differential in the Philippines is smaller than the figures found according to age and education factors. 61% of low-income individuals use the internet while 80% of the high-income bracket do. The 19-point differential puts the country at just past the upper half of the rankings. 

The study also found that, around the world, younger people use social media more than older people, and that there is a strong relationship between smartphone ownership and per capita gross domestic product. The study reported 70% of Filipinos said they use the internet or have a smartphone; 66% of said they use social media sites; and 60% said they own a smartphone, with the survey’s median for smartphone use at 70%. 

For the study, the Pew Research Center surveyed 34 countries from May 13 to October 2, 2019, totaling 38,426 respondents.

On the other hand, data on internet and mobile phone usage for the United States is from a Center survey of 1,502 respondents conducted from January 8 to February 7, 2019.

You can read the full report here. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.