The Welsh Government has recently published results from its National Survey for Wales which is a large-scale survey of adults in Wales, providing information on a range of cross-cutting topics, focusing on wellbeing and people’s views on public services. Of interest to readers of this blog will be the questions asked around Internet and computing access.
The headline results are available in a report from the Welsh Government website (bullet points, some narrative and graphs) whilst the detailed data files (in Excel – click on ‘April to March’) are on the StatsWales website. Some headlines (for the 18+ age group) are:
- 73% of households had access to the internet;
- 76% of people said they currently used the internet at home, work or elsewhere;
- 18% of those who use it do so in a public place e.g. a library. Interestingly, some factors like areas of deprivation did not significantly alter the percentage of those using the Internet in a public place, but more young people (18-24) used public computers than other age groups (table 42);
20% of people aged 18 and over reported that they had never used the Internet. Of those, 58% didn’t want to and 39% didn’t need to use the internet; 27% stated that they did not have the
skills to use the Internet;
- The three most commonly-used devices to access the internet were: a laptop at home or in work
(75%); a desktop computer (52%); and a mobile or smartphone (41%).
The headline report notes that those who had Internet access at home has increased from 43% to 73% since a similar question was asked in a 2004 national Wales survey. This still leaves around a quarter of the population who could utilise library computers.
Age is an influencing factor in Internet usage, with 95% of people aged under 45 years old use the Internet, compared with 22% of people aged 75.
There are over 60 tabs in the Excel file with the data, as the questions are analysed by things like age, employment status, rural/urban, deprivation scores, household type, qualification level, health, income, local authority etc. For example, there is no difference in whether the household has Internet access by urban/rural classification. But, personal use of the Internet varies greatly depending on level of highest qualification obtained: 92% of those with qualifications at level 4 upwards (i.e. degree) used the Internet compared with only 36% of those with no qualifications (table 15). And 42% of those not in employment did not use the Internet. This has relevance to digital inclusion and how libraries can contribute to this agenda.
If you’re interested in this there are a huge amount of data to explore.